B.C. pharmacists push immunization after Vancouver measles outbreak

Interior Health Medical Health Officer Dr. Silvina Mema Image Credit Interior Health

3:34pm Interior Health Medical Health Officer Dr. Silvina Mema Image Credit Interior Health

In the meantime, said Mr. Dix, "the message is for parents to immunize [their children]".

Complications from the virus include pneumonia, inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), seizures, deafness, brain damage and death.

The Vancouver cases are linked to an unvaccinated child who contracted the disease during a family trip to Vietnam, and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry expects there will be more.

Measles, which is spread through air-borne droplets after an infected person coughs or sneezes, can also be a killer.

With 33 students forced to stay home from two Vancouver schools at the centre of the outbreak because they haven't provided proof of vaccination, it's back on the table now.

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It starts with fever, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes. The U.N. health agency said the resurgence was happening at a global level, including in wealthy nations where vaccination coverage has historically been high.

If you were born on or after January 1st, 1970 and have not had two doses of measles vaccine, we recommend that you get a dose of MMR vaccine.

Caroline Quach, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Ste-Justine Hospital, said Quebec could do even more to make sure adults and children have every opportunity to be vaccinated.

There have been five outbreaks of measles in the United States reported in 2019 in the following states: New York (three outbreaks, including one in New York City and two in other counties), Washington and Texas.

Dr. Eric Cadesky, a family physician and president of Doctors of BC, said he's seen a number of young patients recently who made appointments to get the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine over concerns about the outbreak.

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"And many are making a different decision, which is to protect themselves and also, in many cases, that means protecting the people around them, because not everyone can receive the vaccine".

Meanwhile on Thursday, a petition calling on the B.C. government to make it mandatory for children attending public schools to be vaccinated - except for medical-based reasons - reached nearly 35,500 signatures on the website change.org.

When you have a herd immunity of 95 per cent it certainly gives protection to vulnerable people such as our babies and our elderly or those who are too sick to be vaccinated.

In response to a high volume of calls from people inquiring about their vaccination status, Island Health has opened up a measles information line for the South Island at 250-544-7676 ext.

If "certain states continue down the path that they're on, I think they're going to force the hand of the federal health agencies", he added.

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