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Make vaccines mandatory, says expert, warning Alberta at risk of 'significant' outbreak

23 February 2019

The chances of contracting measles are greatly reduced by being fully vaccinated.

"Anti-vaccine skepticism, conflict, and poor access fueled a 50 percent increase in measles cases past year, according to the World Health Organization".

Washington now allows vaccination exemptions for children at public or private schools or licensed day-care centers based on medical, religious and personal or philosophical beliefs.

To prevent outbreaks and eliminate measles, the World Health Organization urges countries to sustain the regimen of high immunisation coverage with two doses of measles vaccine.

"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".

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As you have heard, there is a measles outbreak at three schools in Vancouver.

It is never too late to get vaccinated.

Measles can spread through the air when an infected person breathes, coughs or sneezes.

According to the health authority, the overall measles immunization rate for children starting kindergarten in Vancouver for the 2017/2018 school year, the last year the records are available, was 82 per cent. Akins pointed out that this number is a minimum.

The Department of Health (DoH) in Cagayan Valley (Region 2) has declared a measles outbreak in four provinces after an eight-month-old child died and 82 cases of the contagious disease were reported as of Wednesday.

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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.

"The court of public opinion suggests there's a strong desire not to see people merely opting out or thinking, 'Well I just don't think I'm going to get this done for my kid, ' in the same way you're going to make other choices about putting them into ballet lessons or soccer practice, " said Angus Reid spokesperson Shachi Kurl. People are contagious for about five days before symptoms develop and then it presents like a flu before it develops into a rash. The infection can lead to serious complications, such as pneumonia and encephalitis, and can be fatal.

Dix said even one case of measles is considered an outbreak in public health. The person was in contact with several groups of students before being diagnosed.

The recent outbreak has caused the department to take a closer look at immunization rates here on the Island.

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The head of the US Food and Drug Administration says that if states don't require more schoolchildren to get vaccinated, the federal government might have to step in.

Make vaccines mandatory, says expert, warning Alberta at risk of 'significant' outbreak