Toronto plans to extend voluntary school vaccination for measles

Image copyright AFP Image caption Still images from an internal memo obtained by ABC News reveal a meeting with Dr. Lawrence Sills More Toronto public schools will ask parents to vaccinate their children for…

Toronto plans to extend voluntary school vaccination for measles

Image copyright AFP Image caption Still images from an internal memo obtained by ABC News reveal a meeting with Dr. Lawrence Sills

More Toronto public schools will ask parents to vaccinate their children for measles, the city’s mayor has said, following a government’s decision not to make the vaccination a mandatory requirement.

Toronto Mayor John Tory will meet with public health officials at city hall later on Tuesday to discuss ways to boost school vaccination rates in the city, which has seen outbreaks of measles and mumps.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said that parents’ rights should not be infringed in the case of children who chose not to be vaccinated.

But Mr Tory told CP24 that he will call a meeting with Ms Elliott to talk about bolstering Ontario’s vaccination rate.

He told the Canadian news channel that a mandatory vaccine may not be the best way to get everyone vaccinated, but that people should have choices to make.

“I think our education system, and our local community and social services systems, should be getting to the bottom of why a fifth or a sixth of the population is not being protected from those devastating diseases,” he said.

He added that public health officials had “kept a lid” on measles outbreaks, but would look to strengthen education efforts to curb the threat.

In response to a question about a mandatory vaccination option, Mr Tory said that there might be “some cases” where people would resist.

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that affects the respiratory and immune systems, leading to fever, cough, runny nose, sore eyes and a red rash.

Anyone who is not vaccinated risks catching the disease and/or passing it on to someone else, if they are not vaccinated or are immune compromised through a condition such as HIV or a blood disorder.

Delays in vaccinations or a refusal to be vaccinated can lead to outbreaks and make the disease more contagious.

The decision follows questions about a student who tested positive for measles after visiting the Toronto Public School board’s public school in early June.

Although no one else has been confirmed to have measles, the board is working to keep schools and campuses virus-free.

The vaccine to treat mumps is also not mandatory in Canada, however, while children are required to be vaccinated for rubella, flu and chickenpox.

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