Amid outbreaks, federal government announces $25 million to promote vaccination
With Canada’s vaccination rates dipping, the federal health ministry announced on Thursday it will dedicate $25 million over five years to ensure more parents are getting their children inoculated against disease like measles.
While the current Canadian vaccination rate stands at around 90 per cent, Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor said the goal is to raise that to 95 per cent. She lamented the amount of anti-vaccination posts making their way around social media and said some of the money will go towards combatting that misinformation.
The announcement comes as new cases of measles are being reported throughout North America. In the United States there have been over 450 cases this year, the highest since 2014. An Ottawa woman who is battling cancer urged Canadians to get vaccinated after contracting measles in March.
In Montreal, the McGill University Health Centre warned patients last week that an employee had been working there between March 23 and 27 while being contagious with the disease. On Thursday, The Gazette reported that 15 MUHC employees had been sent home due to possible exposure. An MUHC spokesperson wouldn’t confirm or deny that number but said 43 employees have been asked for proof of vaccination against measles.
Immunologist Claire Trottier said vaccinating against measles is important because of how easily the disease can spread.
“It is extraordinarily infectious. I would say it’s, if not the most infectious disease, very, very highly infectious,” she said. “In a population that is unvaccinated, it can travel very rapidly and it’s also transmissible before symptoms appear which makes it more difficult to control infections when somebody can transmit it without showing any signs of the disease.”