B.C.’s measles immunization catch-up program

What is the measles immunization catch-up program?

The BC government and Island Health are making it easier for children 18 and under on Vancouver Island to get up-to-date on their immunizations. The measles immunization catch-up program is one way that the province has helped families protect their children against measles. 

The program ran from April until the end of June, and provided measles immunizations for children if they had not begun or completed their series. The catch-up program helped prepare parents for the mandatory reporting of immunization status, which is planned for fall 2019.

What about mandatory reporting?
Mandatory reporting of school-aged students’ immunization status was implemented July 1, 2019. More details about reporting can be found on ImmunizeBC and HealthlinkBC

Where can my children get their immunizations?
Immunization clinics will be provided at local public health units. Call your local public health unit for information.

Measles catch-up at Island Health by the numbers:
•    More than 5,300 measles immunizations administered to school-aged children between January and June
•    More than 11,000 measles immunizations provided to people from January to June, two times more than the same time period last year
•    There are more than 93,000 students in the Island Health region (kindergarten to grade 12); about 24% of them have not completed their measles immunization series
•    More than 1,000 hours of immunization clinics for children in K-12 from April to June

Why do we need a measles vaccine?
Measles is a highly contagious disease that spreads through the air. At least 95% of the population needs to be immunized to develop herd immunity. As of March 2019, 74% of children aged seven in the Island Health region are fully immunized against measles.

Is my child immunized?
Children are eligible for the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine at 12 months and four years of age. Check your child’s records to see if they are immunized.

What if my child is home schooled?
Children who attend home school can be immunized at a public health unit. Call to schedule an appointment.

Measles symptoms and updates
Symptoms of measles include fever, runny nose, sore throat, cough, diarrhea and red eyes, followed a few days later by a rash that starts on the face and spreads to the chest.  If you develop symptoms, please contact your health care provider before you visit them so they can take precautions to prevent transmission of measles to others.

For questions and more information:
Call 8-1-1 for information any time or visit healthlinkbc.ca.
Learn about measles at https://immunizebc.ca/measles.
Learn more about immunization.
Contact your local public health unit.

 

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