A petition to make vaccines mandatory in B.C. schools in gaining momentum after several cases of measles were confirmed in Vancouver.
As of yesterday, there has been a total of nine cases confirmed by the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority this month.
One of the people who were found to have the disease visited the BC Children’s Hospital Emergency Department while infectious.
British Columbia residents have been repeatedly advised to get themselves or their children vaccinated if they are under-vaccinated or unvaccinated.
The petition is asking the provincial government to amend the current enrolment policy to include mandatory vaccination, with medical exemptions.
“Currently we do not request vaccine records to enrol in our schools. The current policy is that if there is an outbreak of a vaccine preventable disease, those without vaccines are requested (but not forced to) stay home,” reads the petition.
The petition was started this week and already has over 16,000 signatures out of 25,000.
After the fourth case of measles was confirmed, the health minister of B.C., Adrian Dix, urged residents to get vaccinated. He said it is the responsibility of parents to ensure their children are vaccinated, adding that they should think of other people’s children who could be infected.
According to the health authority, symptoms of measles include fever, cough, runny nose, and red eyes, followed a few days later by a rash that starts on the face and spreads to the chest. Complications from measles can include pneumonia, inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), convulsions (seizures), deafness, brain damage, and death. An infected person can spread measles before knowing they have been infected. People are infectious to others from four days before to four days after the onset of rash.