On 14 September, Vancouver Coastal Health’s medical health officer stated that there is a person infected with measles, even though they were vaccinated. However, it seems that the individual only received a dose of the vaccine that treats measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) when they were young.
For full protection, health officials stated that it is important to get two doses of the vaccine. Dr. John Harding explains:
“From 1970 to 1994, we were only giving one dose of measles-containing vaccine in the routine immunization at the time. We realized in the mid-90s that it was important to have two doses to protect people.”
According to the press release, the individual had symptoms a few days later, and before that, they visited several crowded places between 8 and 11 September – Skookum Music Festival, Quebec Street’s community block party, the Noodlebox restaurant in Mount Pleasant, and also used the Main Street bus from Terminal to Broadway.
The MMR Vaccine is Free
Harding explained that the virus is highly infectious:
“It’s a virus that stays active in the area for up to two hours after a person has left.”
C.D. Howe Institute policy analyst Rosalie Wyonch added that the population has a minority of “anti-vaxxers,” and that there are many people she calls “vaccine fence-sitters” who are complacent, explaining that:
“They may not be well-informed about the risks of not getting a vaccine they may not be well-informed about whether there are risks in getting the vaccine, and so they simply don’t know if they should get it.”
Health officials recommend people that don’t know if they had just one dose of the MMR vaccine or two to go to their doctor’s office and find out. The vaccine is free and can be found at the physician’s office, community health center or pharmacy.
VCH Public Health’s phone number is 604-675-3900, for more information on the issue.
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.