Mandatory Vaccines for Public School Children
PC Leader Tim Houston says all students should be vaccinated if they are entering the public school system.
Houston introduced amendments to the Health Protection Act that would require all students enrolling in Nova Scotia’s public school system to present either proof of vaccination or a medical exemption.
“Our number one priority has to be protecting the safety and wellbeing of our children,” says Houston. “The reality is failure to immunize children without medical reasons is a negligent practice that brings invisible risks to our classrooms and puts other children in danger.”
Many Nova Scotians are medically disqualified from receiving vaccinations and rely on “herd vaccinations” to keep them safe. Houston says making vaccinations mandatory for enrolment in the public school system would encourage parents to vaccinate their children.
Saint John, New Brunswick was inundated with an outbreak of measles and whooping cough this past spring which prompted legislation. Currently, Nova Scotia has one of the lowest measles vaccination rates in the country at 71.7 percent, behind the national average of 85.7 percent.
“We know, thanks to numerous studies and the work of countless medical professionals, that vaccines protect us from contracting deadly diseases and illnesses. To defy that logic is not only senseless, it’s a selfish and ignorant act that puts lives of vulnerable children at risk,” said Val Andrea-Way, mother of two. “Vaccines are not just about you or your children, they serve to protect the entire community.”
Houston says we shouldn’t wait for an outbreak to recognize when something needs to change.
“Our province is primed for an outbreak like the one in New Brunswick. This is an opportunity to be proactive and get ahead of something that has already been a problem in Atlantic Canada,” says Houston. “Parents can choose to not vaccinate their children- that’s fine but that means they don’t get to go to a public school.”
The Canadian Medical Association passed a resolution in 2016 that “supports the elimination of non-medical exemptions from vaccination in provinces that have legislation mandating children be vaccinated in order to attend school.”
New Brunswick and Ontario have legislation requiring proof of vaccination but they allow exemptions for medical and ideological reasons.