Unvaccinated BC youth reaching out to doctors for measles shots

Feb 20 2019, 7:13 am

With a recent surge in the number of measles cases across the Lower Mainland, some young people whose parents chose to not vaccinate them when they were younger now seem to be taking matters into their own hands — and reaching out to doctors themselves.

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“Recent measles outbreaks have caused a lot of people to re-think their views and what they’ve been told about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines,” said Dr. Eric Cadesky.

“A lot of people are reaching out… and discovering the truth that vaccines are safe and effective and they can be protected in ways that their parents may not have decided to protect them in the past,” he said.

Cadesky is the president of Doctors of BC.

He told Daily Hive that in this province, there’s no minimum age for someone to make medical decisions, as long as that person is deemed to be capable and able to make those decisions for themselves.

And this has meant that previously unvaccinated youth are now getting vaccinated of their own accord, regardless of what their parents decided in the past.

“I’ve seen people as young as 12 to 14 years old coming in and asking about vaccinations and wanting to find out ways they can be protected that their parents haven’t told them about,” he said. “Now that we’re seeing the appearance of very serious diseases that are entirely preventable, people are starting to question why it is exactly that we’re seeing these again.”

Symptoms of measles:

Symptoms of measles include fever, cough, runny nose, and red and inflamed eyes (often sensitive to light), typically starting seven to 14 days after exposure.

These are followed three to seven days later by a rash, which starts first on the face and neck, and spreads to the chest, arms and legs, and lasts at least three days. You may also notice spots inside your mouth that look like small grains of sand on a red base.

  • Check your immunization records to make sure you and your children have had two doses of the measles vaccine (MMR or MMRV). Your immunization record or your doctor can provide you with this information. Adults 18 years of age and older, born in or after 1970 require two doses of measles vaccine; children 12 months to less than 18 years of age, health care workers and adults attending post-secondary institutions are required to have two doses; those born before 1970 are generally considered immune.
  • If your immunization record is not up-to-date, contact your local public health unit.
  • Infants under one year of age, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems can get very ill with measles and should contact their health care professional immediately for further assessment.
  • Watch for symptoms of measles until 21 days after exposure. These include a high fever, cold-like symptoms (cough/runny nose); sore eyes or sensitivity to light; small spots with a white centre on the inside of the mouth; and a red rash lasting four to seven days.

Last week, a Metro Vancouver resident started a petition to make vaccines mandatory in BC.

At the time of this writing, almost 31,000 people had signed it.

Eric ZimmerEric Zimmer

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