Via The Globe and Mail, André Picard writes: Canadian Medical Association wants schools to seek proof of vaccination. Excerpt:
Every student in Canada should be required to present a “declaration of immunization” before being admitted to school, the country’s top doctors’ group says.
The Canadian Medical Association stopped just short of calling for mandatory vaccination, but said much more must be done to figure out who is not vaccinated against once-common childhood diseases, and that parents who do not fully vaccinate should be obliged to explain why to public-health officials.
“The goal is to know the vaccination status of every child,” Jun Yen, a public-health physician from Gatineau, said at the CMA’s annual meeting.
Dr. Yen said this would make it easier to identify unvaccinated children when there are outbreaks of disease, and allow public-health officials to educate parents on the benefits of immunization.
Cindy Forbes, the president of the CMA and a Halifax family physician, said doctors are firm believers in vaccination but don’t want it to be mandatory because that “inflames the conversation.”
“We feel education is the way to go,” she said, adding that most parents who don’t fully vaccinate have concerns, but they are not dogmatically anti-vaccine.
“We think this will improve immunization rates,” Dr. Forbes said.
Currently, some provinces require proof of immunization for daycare or school admission, but the rules vary by jurisdiction and adherence to the rules can vary from school to school.
It can also be difficult for parents to track down this information because, in many provinces, it is collected by family doctors up to age 5, then by schools after that age. Electronic health records, where they exist, also tend to not be connected to vaccine databases.
The CMA also called for the creation of a national vaccine registry so all information is stored centrally and securely. This is particularly important because, in recent years, there have been a growing number of outbreaks such as measles, mumps and whooping cough.
Case in point: Alberta Health today declared a pertussis outbreak in the northern part of the province, with 182 cases so far. Northern Alberta is the realm of the oil sands, now in a state of economic collapse; it's always had a transient population of young men and young families, which must now be moving elsewhere in search of jobs. Vaccinating their kids is not likely top of mind for them.