Global Citizen is a community of people like you

People who want to learn about and take action on the world’s biggest challenges. Extreme poverty ends with you.

Health

Unvaccinated Teens in Vancouver Are Secretly Asking Doctors For Measles Vaccines


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Measles is highly infectious and potentially fatal, but it can prevented thanks to routine vaccination. Eradicating infectious diseases like the measles is key to achieving Global Goal 3 on good health and well-being for all. You can take action on this here.

Amid a measles outbreak in Vancouver, BC, doctors in the city say unvaccinated teens are going against their parents’ wishes and asking for vaccines against the virus, CTV News Vancouver reported.

There has been a spike in measles cases globally and a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated that the anti-vaccination movement was to blame for the recent outbreaks. But a new trend shows unvaccinated young people are looking to reverse course.

“I've seen youth as young as 14 years old coming in on their own and asking to receive vaccines,” Dr. Eric Cadesky, president of the Doctors of BC, told CTV News. “Most of the youth that are coming to see me have done a lot of research, they’ve been exposed to both the truth as we know it in terms of vaccines as well as a lot of the opinions and outright lies.”

Take Action: Encourage South Africans to Prioritize Child Health and #VaxTheNation

Anti-vaxxers often believe there’s a link between vaccination and autism, but there is no scientific evidence supporting that theory.

“My mom was very anti-vaxx, she was into homeopathy and more ‘natural’ solutions,” 23-year-old Maddi Bisset told CTV News. “Ask questions, don't trust what you hear from your parents as gospel. You need to definitely talk to professionals and even talk to friends and ask them what they think because even me talking to my friends [made me realize] that I'm not the norm and that what my parents are telling me is not the full truth.”

The measles vaccine is not mandatory for school attendance in BC.

Related Stories Feb. 7, 2019 Hundreds of Thousands of Measles Cases Alarm Global Health Community

Vancouver Coastal Health officials advised there are nine confirmed measles cases — eight of which were associated to three French-language schools in Vancouver.

More than 30 students and staff at two of these schools cannot attend school at the moment because they have not provided proof of vaccination.

Measles is a highly contagious disease. The virus can remain active in the air for up to two hours — and 90% of people who are not immunized will become infected.

Its symptoms can include red eyes, runny nose, cough, and fever, but measles’ notorious symptom is a rash that usually shows up three to five days after contracting the virus.

The virus hit Vancouver after a family with three unvaccinated children returned from a trip to Vietnam.

Emmanuel Bilodeau thinks that one of his sons contracted the virus while on the trip, which was then spread at school.

Related Stories Feb. 6, 2019 Measles Case Confirmed in Canada Amid US Outbreak

“We worried 10 to 12 years ago because there was a lot of debate around the MMR vaccine,” Bilodeau told CBC. “Doctors were coming out with research connecting the MMR vaccine with autism. So we were a little concerned.”

He says that he knows now there is no proven link between the vaccine and autism.

The MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps, and rubella. As part of routine vaccination, children are generally given two doses of the vaccine — one at 12 months old and the other between 4 and 6 years old, according to the BC Centre for Disease Control.

Related Stories April 26, 2018 7 GIFs Tell You All You Need to Know About Measles-Rubella

Every year, more than 100,000 people die from the measles — most of which are children under the age of 5.

Canada officially eliminated the measles in 1998, but outbreaks are still possible, especially as international travel becomes more common — earlier this month a measles case was confirmed in Ontario, too.

Vaccination is essential in preventing spreading and ultimately deaths associated to the virus.

Every year, more than 100,000 people die from the measles, most of which are children under the age of 5.

Children of all ages can ask a doctor for a vaccine in BC, Cadesky told CTV News Vancouver.

“[This gives me] hope that we'll be able to protect a generation that is more interested in getting safe and effective treatments,” he said.