Measles, mumps and rubella vaccines sit in a cooler at the Rockland County Health Department in Pomona, New York. The MMR vaccine is a two-dose vaccine that typically ensures immunity to measles. (Seth Wenig, Associated Press)

B.C.’s measles vaccination program gains traction

More than 15,000 doses of the MMR vaccine has been administered across the province

B.C.’s “catch-up” immunization program has picked up traction since being launched in April, as health officials look to minimize the risk of the highly infectious measles disease.

More than 15,796 doses of measles vaccinations have been administered to children and youth since B.C. launched pop-up clinics in schools and cities, the health ministry said in report released Tuesday.

READ MORE: Should B.C. parents receive money if they make sure their kids are vaccinated?

Nearly 12,000 doses of the MMR vaccine were administered in May alone.

“We are making real progress, but a sustained effort is required to achieve the immunity levels we need to protect our children,” Health Minister Adrian Dix wrote in the report.

“We are working with our immunization experts on the vaccine status reporting regulation that will start in September 2019. More details will be announced in the near future.”

Dix announced the measles immunization catch-up program on April 1, after 29 people caught the highly contagious virus since January, stemming from multiple breakouts. Cases have been confirmed in the Lower Mainland, Greater Victoria and the Cariboo.

Most recently, a traveller infected with measles had a layover at Vancouver International Airport, sparking an alert by the BC Centre for Disease Control.

READ MORE: Alert issued after person with measles has layover in Vancouver airport

Measles easily spreads through the air by coughing, sneezing and carried on breath. Symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes, followed a few days later by a rash that starts on the face and spreads to the chest.

The province’s target is 95 per cent immunization.

Dix urged any parents or guardians with questions about their child’s immunity to contact their regional health authority or family doctor.


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