A new study suggests over 80 per cent British Columbians support policies such as requiring parents to show documentation when children start school as a way to increase vaccination rates.
Lead author Julie Bettinger, an investigator with the Vaccine Evaluation Centre at BC Children’s Hospital, says governments across the country would benefit from seeking input on attitudes toward vaccine-preventable diseases before implementing their own policies.
Ontario and New Brunswick require proof of vaccination for children, while British Columbia is set to introduce measures in September that will make it mandatory for parents to report a child’s immunization status, following a recent jump in the number of measles cases.
WATCH: The difficult fight of dispelling myths about vaccines
The study of 1,300 people surveyed online in April 2017 is published today in CMAJ Open, and it says less than 40 per cent of respondents were in favour of measures like denial of child-tax benefits if parents didn’t get their kids vaccinated.
Children are vaccinated at one year and again between the ages of four and six to prevent highly contagious measles, which was eradicated in Canada in 1998 but is making a comeback, especially as unvaccinated travellers bring it back home from their trips abroad.
B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix says the province is hoping to learn a lot about vaccination attitudes during a three-month immunization campaign currently underway.