Should immunization records be disclosed to schools?
Debate continues on mandatory vaccinations
As youngsters return to classrooms, questions about immunization records and mandatory vaccination programs are back in the news.
During a recent conference in Halifax, the Canadian Medical Association said school officials should be able to ask parents for proof that their children have been vaccinated.
"I'm totally for it because you want to know that your kids are going to be safe at school," Lisa Stretten, who runs a daycare in Regina, said about such a requirement. Stretten added that vaccinations should be mandatory for school kids.
"If it's not [done] for everybody then it's not safe," Stretten said about immunization shots. "[Without full coverage] there's going to be measles and there's going to be an outbreak."
Brad Wolbaum's daughter is set to start kindergarten this year and her vaccinations are up to date.
"I'm sure the more and more people decide not to [immunize], it might become a larger issue," Wolbaum said. "If illnesses start to run through the schools, I'm sure you'll see a change in opinion of a lot of parents."
In Saskatchewan, officials note they have programs to check immunization records and provide reminders to parents.
"We feel we have a robust program where there is a check in [at] Grade 1, Grade 6 and Grade 8. And that, at the moment, seems to be meeting our needs," Dr. Saqib Shahab, Saskatchewan's Chief Medical Health Officer, said. "The challenge we have is that we need to improve our rates in the pre-school years."
The debate about mandatory vaccinations is noted as a difficult issue, even among parents who are diligent about shots for their children.
"Well generally when you decide to force it upon people it really often divides them even further," Wolbaum said. "So I usually find the education route is the way to go."
California recently passed a law requiring all public and private school children to be vaccinated beginning next summer.