Island Health encourages higher immunization rates as measles cases rise in Canada

A photo of a person diagnosed with measles

Island Health is encouraging the public to update their immunizations during National Immunization Awareness Week and as measles cases circulate in rising numbers across the country.

Months after B.C. received its first measles case since 2019, Island Health is encouraging the public to make sure their immunization records are up to date.

“Measles is a highly contagious virus which people can pass on before they show symptoms. The virus can spread through the air and can remain in a room for several hours after the infected person has left,” said Island Health in a press release.

The health authority is encouraging residents to visit their primary care provider, pharmacist, or local health unit to get their immunizations up-to-date to prevent outbreaks.

“Approximately 95 per cent of a population must be immune to prevent outbreaks, which is why ensuring immunizations are up to date is so important,” said the health authority.

The measles vaccine is given in a series of two doses, typically administered when a child is about 12 months and then again once school starts.

Island Health estimates that around 10 per cent of seven-year-olds haven’t received a single dose, and 18 per cent have received only a single dose.

“Over the next few weeks and months Public Health Nurses will be visiting select schools to immunize kids in k=Kindergarten and Grade 1. Parents and caregivers will be consulted via a letter home from school,” said Island Health.

As of April 6, the federal government says there are 50 active measles cases in Canada.

Oli Herrera

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