British Columbia

B.C. aiming to make vaccine reporting mandatory by September, health minister says

A mandatory registry model is already in place in Ontario and New Brunswick.

Ontario, New Brunswick already have registry

Adrian Dix said he's also considering an expansion of mobile vaccination clinics to make it more convenient for people to get immunized. (Sean Holden/CBC)

Parents may have to report their child's vaccination status by the start of the new school year in September, according to B.C.'s health minister.

"That's our goal," Adrian Dix told reporters on Tuesday.

Mandatory reporting of vaccinations would help public health officials assess the scope of immunization and respond to outbreaks more effectively.

The model was recommended in 2014 by then B.C. Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall, after 343 measles cases were reported in B.C.

Dix said the model has been under consideration since then and would be more effective than mandatory immunizations. 

"That we don't try to litigate these questions in the courts or make children the sort of middle of fights between authorities and parents, but that we take actions that are going to raise immunization rates which are really important for everybody — but are especially important for children who themselves can't be immunized for medical reasons," he said.

Dix said he's also considering an expansion of mobile vaccination clinics to make it more convenient for people to get immunized.

14% of B.C. children not immunized

More than a dozen cases of the measles have been confirmed in the Lower Mainland in recent weeks, after a family whose children were not vaccinated travelled to Vietnam.

In B.C., 14 per cent of children haven't been immunized against measles.

A mandatory registry model is already in place in Ontario and New Brunswick.

Proof of immunization has been a requirement for children entering New Brunswick schools since 1982.

Ontario's model is similar to New Brunswick's, in that every child has an immunization card that shows a record of their vaccinations. Parents update the card with each vaccination or booster and report those to the provincial health care unit either in person or online.

With files from Tanya Fletcher

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