Here are three important reasons to vaccinate.
The Vaccination Status Reporting Regulation is a new regulation (law) put into place on July 1, 2019. It supports the collection of immunization records of school-age children by Public Health so that all records are stored in one place, the provincial immunization registry. The regulation applies to public, independent, and home-schooled students in kindergarten through grade 12, including students who live in First Nations communities and attend school off-reserve. At this time, the regulation does not apply to students who attend schools in First Nations communities or children who attend daycares or Strong Start centres.
Before this regulation is put into place in First Nations communities, more discussion needs to happen between the government and First Nations education and health organizations. Health care providers working in First Nations communities are dedicated to making sure children have access to all immunizations in the provincial program. If your child attends school in a First Nations community, please check their immunization record to make sure they are up to date. If you have any questions or don’t have a copy of your child’s record, contact your local community health nurse.
The purpose of the regulation is to ensure that the immunization records of school-age children are in the provincial immunization registry. Having records in one place will enable health care providers to quickly find out if a person is immunized or not when needed. This is very important in many situations. For example:
Until this year, B.C. didn’t have a provincial immunization registry. This is one of the reasons why this regulation has been put into place. If your child was immunized at your local health unit or school, their record should already be in the provincial registry. If your child was immunized at a First Nations Community Health Centre, doctor’s office, pharmacy, or outside of B.C., their record may not be in the provincial registry yet. This does not mean your child has not been immunized.
You can use this tool to find out if your child’s record is in the provincial registry.
If you refuse vaccines for your child, the refusal will be noted in your child’s chart. However, your health care provider may contact you to offer refused vaccines again in the future. You may also receive a phone call or a card in the mail from your local health unit, reminding you that your child is due for vaccines. This is because sometimes parents change their minds and may decide to vaccinate their children. Reasons for this include changes in a child’s health, an increase in the risk of infection, changes in beliefs, new information that a parent did not have before, and changes in vaccine recommendations. When your health care provider contacts you, it also gives you the chance to discuss any new information you may have and to ask more questions.
At a minimum, your health care provider may contact you to offer refused vaccines again at school entry and when your child is 10 and 13 years of age. You will also be contacted and offered vaccines for your child if they are unvaccinated, and there is a vaccine-preventable disease outbreak at your child’s school. If there is an outbreak at your child’s school and your child is unprotected, your child may be asked to stay home until it is safe to return. They may miss several days or weeks of school. This is to protect your child and their classmates.