Vaccine reminder

Doctors are reminding parents to make sure their vaccines are up to date as they return to school.

With communicable diseases such as whooping cough and measles making a comeback, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall is reminding parents to make sure their children’s vaccines are up to date as they return to school.

“By the time a child reaches five or six years old, he or she should have received booster shots that protect against measles, polio, chicken pox, whooping cough and more, and kids in Grade 6 and 9 should receive follow-up vaccinations,” Kendall said. “This is all part of B.C.’s free, routine immunization program.”

Parents can now sign up for free text message reminders at immunizebc.ca/reminders, and the website also offers a smartphone app to manage immunization records. Kendall advocates that B.C. should join Ontario and New Brunswick in requiring parents to provide vaccination records when children are enrolled in school.

Vaccinations themselves would not be mandatory, but the records would allow schools to exclude unprotected children during outbreaks of communicable disease, and give public health authorities an opportunity to help parents.