A group of 24 Ontario municipalities have banded together to address the risk of measles, which has been re-emerging in the province following the cancellation of an Ottawa measles case by a mother who refused a vaccine for her child. The municipalities, however, say they lack the legal tools to deal with vaccine refusers.
According to a communiqué from the association, which released a draft of a proposed measles vaccine passport on Wednesday, councils have received numerous “immediate concerns” about “fears of vaccination and misconceptions that have been promoted by anti-vaccination groups.”
The council says it is now working with provincial health officials to develop a vaccine passport, which would require that parents providing medical certificates to schools and facilities requesting vaccination vaccinations from parents provide proof that their children had been vaccinated. Families seeking vaccination services are currently expected to produce letters signed by the parent and a physician. The application process for the measles vaccine passport would likely take anywhere from one to three months to complete, the communiqué notes.
The councils are also calling for a single vaccination form to be made available to family physicians and medical providers. They are also trying to ensure that legislators give municipalities the authority to force vaccine carriers to complete a questionnaire about their vaccine beliefs before a child enrolls in school.
“Parents, families and other organizations have informed us of great concern regarding the outbreaks in their communities. In turn, we are in communication with the province and health services about measures we can take to address these concerns to help ensure continued public health protection,” said provincial councils chair Kip Cupples.
This effort comes at a time when Ontario is grappling with high rates of reported measles cases following “historically low” numbers of reported cases, as reported by The Toronto Star. During last year’s outbreak, health officials saw 118 reported cases of measles, a number they believe to be a low point for the province. In a bid to tackle an outbreak that was seeing some of the highest numbers of cases in a decade, the ministry of health introduced a no-shot-free zone policy that required residents to prove that they had not received an unvaccinated vaccine. It remained in place until July 10, when four cases of measles were found in the Ottawa-Gatineau area. One of the people who contracted the disease was a 10-year-old boy, and the family opted for a court-ordered vaccination of their son.
Read the full story at The Toronto Star.
Study suggests nine of 10 non-immune doctors offer ‘cumbersome’ vaccine records to patients
Report: California health officials accused of covering up measles cases
In Canada, colds, secondhand smoke and abortion account for 46 percent of cases of severe pneumonia