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Vaccinations would be mandatory for school children under Alberta Party government

Vaccinations will be mandatory for all children attending a publicly funded school under an Alberta Party government, says Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel.

'We send our kids to school to learn, not to get sick'

Stephen Mandel, shown here at a 2018 rally, says under an Alberta Party government students would be required to have up-to-date immunizations before attending any publicly funded school. (Jason Franson/Canadian Press)

Vaccinations would be mandatory for all children attending publicly funded schools under an Alberta Party government, says leader Stephen Mandel.

"Parents should be able to send their kids to school without fear they'll contract serious illnesses such as measles, mumps, whooping cough and polio," Mandel said in a news release Thursday.

"At a time when measles outbreaks are rising throughout the world, and even occurring in Canada, it's more important than ever that our children and communities are protected," he said.

"We send our kids to school to learn, not to get sick."

In order to register a child at any publicly funded school, parents would need to provide proof that the child's immunizations are up to date under Alberta Health Services' routine immunization schedule, Mandel said.

The idea has the support of infectious disease experts.

Alberta's relatively low vaccination rates puts the province at risk for a significant outbreak, Dr. Jim Kellner, a pediatrician and infectious disease specialist, told CBC in an interview in February, following a measles outbreak in Vancouver.

"Mandatory school programs is actually an idea that's time is here. It was here in the past and it's an idea whose time is here again," he said.

Implementation of the new policy would be developed with help from Alberta's medical community and models used in other jurisdictions, Mandel said.

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