The Alberta Party just announced that it would be making vaccinations mandatory for the majority of children in the province if elected during this upcoming provincial election.
Stephen Mandel, the leader of the party, spoke in front of a crowd on Thursday to make the announcement.
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“This is a public health issue, plain and simple,” he said, according to an Alberta Party release.
“Parents should be able to send their kids to school without fear they’ll contract serious illnesses such as measles, mumps, whooping cough and polio.”
The announcement comes mere weeks after a measles outbreak in Vancouver saw over a dozen cases pop up throughout the region, along with an infected individual flying into Edmonton in late February, prompting a warning from Alberta Health Services.
“Under an Alberta Party government, children will need to have up-to-date immunizations in order to attend a publicly-funded school,” Mandel said in the announcement.
“At a time when measles outbreaks are rising throughout the world, and even occurring in Canada, it’s more important than ever that our children and communities are protected. We send our kids to school to learn, not to get sick.”
The release elaborates on what children would require mandatory immunizations, stating that the parents of any child attending a school that receives public funding — “including those falling under the jurisdiction of public and separate school boards and Charter schools” — would need to provide proof that their child’s immunizations are up-to-date.
This would cover all publicly funded schools in Alberta, from elementary to senior high.
If the Alberta Party controlled the Government of Alberta after the coming election, all immunizations would remain free of charge, and further details on the requirement — including medical exemptions and an official list of required vaccinations — would be ironed out by consulting Alberta’s medical community in the following months.