March 21, 2015 - Mainstreet Technologies, a polling firm based in Toronto, contacted over 1,000 Canadians whose children were not vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella and found that 79% of the respondents were not likely to immunize their children regardless of the recent measles outbreak.
This negative and rather reckless response poses a continuing and insidious threat to children and adults with compromised immune systems who cannot be vaccinated and consequently, dependent on herd immunity for their defence.
Babies, who are too young to receive vaccinations or have not had a chance to build their immunity, often get the disease from a family member who is not vaccinated or failed to stay current with booster shots.
136 unvaccinated children from Joliette Elementary School in the Lanaudière region of Quèbec contracted measles. Vaccination records revealed that 114 students and 51 staff members were not fully immunized.
Parents and staff members were notified of the exposure and vaccinations were offered at the school. People who denied the vaccination were required to stay home for two weeks.
Twelve people required hospitalization and while most were released, two patients suffered complications, including pneumonia.
Despite the fact that the government cannot legislate compulsory measles vaccinations, Philippe Couillard, the Premier of Quèbec, urged parents last February to immunize their children out of a sense of responsibility.
Measles cases in Lanaudière have been traced to one person who returned to Quebec after visiting Disneyland in California last December 2014.
An article recently published by Maclean’s Magazine entitled, “Should we withhold child benefits from those who don’t vaccinate?” suggests that reasoning with anti-vaxxers is a lost cause and introducing financial incentives is a proposal worth debating.
Parents in Australia earn an additional Maternity Immunization Allowance of about $120 at 18 months and again at four years of age, if their child receives all the recommended vaccinations. Rates for all recommended vaccinations in Australia are now above 90%.
Perhaps it is time for Canada to reconsider its present vaccination policy.
If You Do Not Vaccinate Your Children…you are completely irresponsible
Prime Minister Stephen Harper Meets With Bill Gates to Advance Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Priority
Everything You Need to Know about Measles – Washington Post
WHO/Europe Calls for Scaled-up Vaccination against Measles
Vaccination Greatly Reduces Disease, Disability, Death and Inequity Worldwide - World Health Organization (WHO)
Innovative Mobile Vaccine App Launched in Canada – CHASA
Measles outbreak: The loopholes in Canada's vaccination laws – CBC
Review Finds Little Evidence for Childhood Vaccine Fears – University of Southern California
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Maternal, Newborn and Child Health