The province has introduced a bill that would allow health officers to cross-match immunization records with school enrollment lists to see who is being overlooked.
Health Minister Sarah Hoffman says the core focus for the bill is to make sure health officials are better prepared in the event of an outbreak.
“Immunization is one of our most important public health interventions,” said Hoffman. “With Bill 28, government is focused on working with parents, and our educational health partners, so that we can protect the health of Alberta’s children.”
According to Hoffman, health officers are missing immunizations records for an estimated 15 to 25 per cent of school-aged children.
While the government is not moving to make vaccinations mandatory, Dr. Karen Grimsrud, with Alberta Health Services, emphasized how important immunizations are.
“Outbreaks occur in our schools, and our child care facilities, and in the community at large, every year,” said Grumsrud. “In fact we had 88 outbreaks of measles, mumps, or whooping cough that occurred in our community, or in our schools, since 2003.”
Parents whose children are not immunized would hear from public health workers, then can either get their kids vaccinated, or sign a form saying they don’t want to. (bd, scb)