Health authorities across British Columbia administered 15,796 doses of measles-containing vaccines to kindergarten to Grade 12 students from April 1 to May 30.
The immunization blitz is part of the B.C. government’s catch-up campaign to prepare the province for mandatory registration of a student’s immunization record starting in the fall.
“We have a ways to go but we are making significant progress,” Health Minister Adrian Dix said.
“As we review records and move forward a vast majority of those have been immunized. That is good news and we will continue to do the work in June.”
Based on the new wave of immunizations, 87.6 per cent of school-aged children have received the full two doses of the immunization. There are 94.8 per cent of K-to-12 students with at least one of two doses.
The province is targeting a province-wide immunization rate of 95 per cent.
“What this shows is having this catch-up campaign has helped us both in insuring we know where we are and understanding who is immunized and who isn’t,” Dix said.
The province kicked off the campaign in April with the goal to immunize children, who have not previously been immunized against measles and those who may not have received both recommended doses.
WATCH (aired March 20, 2019): B.C. government to offer measles’ vaccines at schools
Aside from the program at community centres and schools, pharmacists administered 498 of the total doses of measles vaccines for school-aged children aged five to 19 in May.
Health authorities have held 858 in-school clinics, as well as 2,388 public health clinics in communities throughout B.C.
Immunization rates saw a boost in B.C. following a measles outbreak with 27 confirmed cases to date province-wide.
WATCH (Aired April 22. 2019): Understanding vaccines and immunization
The provincial government says it is still dealing with influential voices that say immunization is not safe. Anti-vaccine activist Robert Kennedy Jr. is set to speak at the Surrey Environment & Business Awards on September 17.
“You would like inaccurate information about immunizations to not be on the internet, but they are, and for people not to spread inaccurate information about children’s health, but they do,” Dix said.
“But we can’t do much about that. We can do something about the people we immunize and that is what we are doing.”
The province has also been reviewing records for students. Since the launch of the program, 566,106 students from kindergarten to Grade 12 have had their immunization records reviewed. Parents and guardians of students who have missing or incomplete records have been notified.
Dix says the province will release details of mandatory reporting of students’ immunization status “in the near future.”