Is your child a candidate for mandatory vaccinations? A new survey conducted in parts of three northern Ontario cities says you’re pretty sure, no matter the province.
According to the latest data from the Ontario Immunization Program, 63 per cent of respondents to a survey from HealthLink Ontario were “certain or somewhat likely” to get their children vaccinated against an assortment of deadly diseases, including rubella, whooping cough, measles, mumps, whooping cough, diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis, Hib, Hepatitis B, human papillomavirus (HPV), pertussis (whooping cough), Hepatitis C, polio, hepatitis B, chicken pox, measles, mumps, tetanus, pertussis, meningitis, mumps A, mumps B, shingles, HIB and HIV.
The reason these deadly childhood diseases are on the rise has to do with teenagers and adults who aren’t getting vaccinated, including 1.8 million Ontarians in their 20s, according to the Canadian Paediatric Society.
But 61 per cent of respondents to the HealthLink survey said they’d agree or strongly agree with changes to their provincial immunization program if one of the goals were to reduce the rates of under-vaccinated teens and adults. Another 28 per cent were “very likely” to go along with the idea. The public consultation deadline on this topic was February, and recommendations are expected later this year from HealthLink Ontario.
The poll is part of a larger survey of 75,000 people from across Canada, as well as three Ontario cities, responding to a statement from HealthLink Ontario that has the potential to “trigger a measles outbreak.”
“In many cases, parents worry about the side effects of vaccinations, not the health risks posed by the vaccine-preventable diseases in their communities,” the government agency’s statement says.
In 2014, measles hit the Toronto area when the town of Burlington saw its first case of the illness in 21 years. And then two years later, 10-year-old Wilmot Pearlman was sent to hospital on 12 February 2017 after coming down with a nasty bacterial infection, contracted from a person who visited a Guelph high school. He later died.
It’s caused concern and debate among some Canadians, who have accused the anti-vaccination movement of putting the public at risk. Speaking before the Canadian Senate committee on national security and defence in December, Health Canada’s director of immunization, Dr. Leslie Boni, mentioned her trip to the Wahnapitae First Nation and the Wapekeka First Nation, which were hit by a measles outbreak.
In Ottawa, which has one of the lowest rates of vaccinations among Canadian municipalities, seven residents came down with measles last year.
And as the debate continues, should the mandate be on immunization levels, or shall it be on healthy gains? The Ottawa Citizen is reporting today that a genetic test for mumps (which in its normal condition is a harmless infection) turned up results that a person is 100% immune to mumps if they have had two doses of the vaccine. This should lead to rates of vaccination increasing.