Victoria – Three months in, this is the latest update on the measles immunization catch-up program from Adrian Dix, BC Minister of Health.

Launched in April 2019 to run to the end of the school year, the catch-up program’s goal was to immunize children from kindergarten to Grade 12 who have not previously been immunized against measles and those who may not have received both recommended doses.

During the period April 1 to June 30, 27,747 doses of measles-containing vaccines were administered by health authorities to kindergarten to Grade 12 students. This is a preliminary total and will rise when all records are received by public health officials. Community pharmacists and primary care providers were also key partners in the catch-up program. Based on records received so far, pharmacists provided 1,220 doses of measles vaccines to children and youth during the catch-up program, compared to the 21 doses provided during the same period in the previous year.

Through increased immunizations and combined record reconciliation, the number of children now recorded as fully immunized against measles has risen by 37,525.

Health authorities held 1,053 in-school clinics, as well as 3,584 public health clinics in communities throughout B.C. from April 1 to June 30. Since the launch of the program, 590,748 students from kindergarten to Grade 12 had their immunization records reviewed and parents and guardians of children who have missing or incomplete records were notified as well.

Efforts to help parents get their children up to date on immunization for measles and other communicable diseases are continuing. In July 2019, the Province implemented the mandatory reporting of student’s immunization status through the Vaccination Status Reporting Regulation. Mandatory reporting increases public health’s ability to respond during an outbreak, as it allows health officials to quickly identify those who are under and unimmunized.

Most parents are already in compliance with this requirement, so they will not need to do anything further when the new school year starts. Parents or guardians of children with an incomplete or missing record will be contacted by public health on how to provide their child’s immunization information if it is needed, plus receive information on upcoming school-based or community health clinics where their child can receive immunizations if they require them. More information on the mandatory reporting can be accessed at: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2019HLTH0079-001366

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