A motion urging the provincial government to make vaccinations mandatory for children in Alberta schools passed unanimously at the Edmonton Catholic Schools’ board meeting Tuesday.
Trustee Marilyn Bergstra put forward the motion asking that the board lobby the government to make vaccinations mandatory for all students in the public education system.
She believes vaccinations should be mandatory for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps and rubella.
“In extreme cases, whereby a medical doctor has advised that it is in a student’s best interest to forego vaccination on the grounds of medical complications, exclusion may be applicable,” Berstra wrote in a motion that will be presented to the Catholic school board Tuesday afternoon.
“For example, while undergoing cancer treatment.”
Bergstra cited a number of reasons for her action, including an increase in the number of cases of measles worldwide. She said outbreaks of other preventable diseases have also occurred this year in Canada.
“This includes, but is certainly not limited to, a whooping cough outbreak in both Manitoba and Alberta as well as multiple cases of mumps within Edmonton Health Region,” Bergstra wrote. “These vaccine preventable cases are the direct result of drops in vaccination rates within the population.”
“As most of these diseases are highly infectious, schools are optimal breeding grounds for epidemic level outbreaks. Couple this with the growing trend to not vaccinate; hence a loss of herd resistance within the localized population, and we can logically conclude that our students are increasingly at risk.”
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Bergstra said tremendous financial costs are associated with the standard outbreak investigation practice and follow-up quarantine measures.
In Ontario and New Brunswick, students are required to be immunized for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps and rubella. However, there are some exemptions.