British Columbia

B.C. measles outbreak: 33 students, staff ordered to stay home from schools

Students and staff at two Vancouver French-language schools who have not provided proof they have been vaccinated against measles have been sent home and will only be allowed to return if there are no new cases by March 7.

They will be allowed to return if there are no new cases by March 7

The Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine is usually given to children between four to six years of age and the onus is on parents have to report that their child has been vaccinated. (CBC)

Some 33 students and staff at two French-language schools at the centre of a measles outbreak in Vancouver have been ordered to stay home because they haven't provided proof of vaccination.

Vancouver Coastal Health says there have been eight confirmed cases of measles at Ecole Secondaire Jules-Verne and Ecole Rose-des-Vents.

Spokeswoman Tiffany Akins says both schools had documented measles vaccination rates that were around 70 per cent before the outbreak.

She says the health authority's staff were able to confirm the vaccination records of more students in light of the outbreak, bringing the rate up to around 95 per cent.

But she says the 33 students and staff who have been sent home have either been unable to provide this documentation or are still refusing to vaccinate.

Akins adds that the individuals will be allowed to return to the schools if there are no new cases of measles at the institutions by March 7.

Immunization by the numbers

To stop the spread of the disease, health authorities estimate 92 per cent of people must be vaccinated. This creates what health officials call herd immunity. But according to data from Vancouver Coastal Health, there are plenty of schools within its region that do not meet that threshold.

According Vancouver Coastal Health data, vaccination rates for the measles within its region range from 89 per cent in Vancouver South to 74 per cent in the city's centre.

At some schools, like East Vancouver's Grandview Elementary, the immunization rate is just 57 per cent.

The numbers are based on parents who have reported their childrens' vaccination status to health authorities.

with files from Tina Lovgreen


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?