The Manitoba School Boards Association will vote this week on a motion to lobby the government to enact legislation for mandatory vaccinations for students.
The motion said it’s to “protect the health of children in the community,” and looks to promote vaccinations for nine diseases: chicken pox, measles, mumps, diphtheria, tetanus, poliomyelitis, rubella, meningococcal disease and pertussis.
Linda Ross is the chairperson for the Brandon School Division Board of Trustees, the group that put forward the motion. Ross said parents not vaccinating their children is a public health issue.
“They’re not just putting their own children at risk, which I guess is their decision, but they’re putting the health of the community at risk,” she said. “I would encourage them to read the information available because as I said, I think a lot of people are making this decision on inaccurate information that’s out there.”
Global News spoke to some parents about the debate.
Joanna Baerg vaccinated her six-month-old son to protect him.
“There are diseases that are preventable through vaccinations that haven’t been part of history for a lot of years and I didn’t want him to get them,” she said.
Baerg said even though she chose to vaccinate, she doesn’t think the decision should be forced on parents.
“I think parents should still have the choice,” she explained. “But I think more education about the vaccinations would be good.”
Other parents like Ainsley Wastesicoot choose not to vaccinate and doesn’t want to be forced.
“When they were born I chose not to get them vaccinated. It’s a family matter, none of the people in our family do that at all. We don’t believe in that stuff,” she said.
Immunization in the province is voluntary and Health Minister Kelvin Goertzen said legislation isn’t being considered.
The motion is scheduled to be voted on at the association’s annual convention on Friday.