Six-year-old Joseph Salverda gets his first flu shot at a child health clinic in Saanich last November. (Black Press file photo)

B.C. launches mandatory vaccine registry for schoolchildren

The Vaccination Status Reporting Regulation will go into effect ahead of upcoming school year

The province is rolling out a new immunization registry to require parents and guardians to submit a child’s vaccination records if they attend public school.

READ MORE: B.C. sees boost in measles vaccines in ‘catch-up’ immunization program

Health Minister Adrian Dix announced the Vaccination Status Reporting Regulation that took effect this summer.

“This mandatory reporting of the immunization status of students will ensure the public health system is prepared in the event of an outbreak,” Dix said.

“Furthermore, with the up-to-date records, public health can reach out to families with children behind on their immunizations and provide an opportunity to catch them up, as well as discuss any concerns with parents.”

Most parents have already submitted necessary paperwork to their local health unit, Dix said.

The registry is the latest in a number of moves made by the Health Ministry since January, following a measles outbreak at a small group of elementary schools in Vancouver.

There have been 27 confirmed cases of measles this year, from 100 Mile House to Greater Victoria.

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

In April, the province rolled out a “catch-up” immunization program. So far, 95 per cent of 566,000 students have received two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.

In August, public health officials will review school enrolment records and match them against immunization records for children in kindergarten to Grade 12.

Dix said the goal for the first year will be to help parents get their children up to date on immunizations by the end of the 2019-20 school year.

Immunization is not mandatory in Canada. Ontario and New Brunswick are the only other provinces that require proof of immunization for children to attend school. Parents can seek an exemption on religious or conscientious grounds.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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