Nova Scotia

Student vaccinations will not be made mandatory in Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia will not be following in New Brunswick's footsteps when it comes to mandatory vaccinations for students enrolled in school, Education Minister Zach Churchill said Thursday.

Education Minister Zach Churchill says health officials have concerns about such a move

Health officials are dealing with a measles outbreak in the Saint John area. (Canadian Press)

Nova Scotia will not be following in New Brunswick's footsteps when it comes to mandatory vaccinations for students enrolled in school, Education Minister Zach Churchill said Thursday.

New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs said earlier this week that vaccines "can't be optional," as a Saint John area high school deals with a measles outbreak. New Brunswick's education minister said children that don't meet immunization requirements this fall will be barred from schools.

Churchill said while Nova Scotia urges parents to vaccinate their children, the Department of Health has concerns about mandating it.

"I perceive a potential risk in mandating it and not allowing kids in school without them," he said. "It might incentivize inaccurate information being provided to the department on vaccination, that we can't evaluate appropriately."

Education Minister Zach Churchill said the department is not contemplating mandatory vaccinations at this time. (Craig Paisley/CBC)

Instead of mandatory vaccination, Churchill said the Education Department is working on improving the way it tracks information about vaccines.

"We do a decent job with that but it needs to be improved," he said.

Churchill said the department knows which students are not vaccinated based on information the parents provide, but he couldn't say how many there are. He said the department will look into getting that information.