Government has approved the Vaccination Status Reporting Regulation. Implementation could result in requiring parents or guardians to report the vaccination status of their school-age children. This regulation came into force on July 1 and public health units began implementation of the regulation in September of 2019.
Recent outbreaks of vaccine-preventable disease in B.C. have highlighted the importance of immunization coverage rates, particularly for children in the kindergarten to Grade 12 (K-12) school system. Since the beginning of 2019, there have been 31 confirmed cases of measles among B.C. residents. In response to these measles cases, the Province launched a two-phase plan to increase immunization rates in B.C.
Phase one was a measles catch-up program, which launched in March and will continue until the end of June for K-12 students. During the period April 1 to May 30, 2019, 15,796 doses of measles-containing vaccines have been administered by providers in health authorities to kindergarten to Grade 12 students. This is a preliminary total and will rise when all records are received by public health officials.
The Vaccination Status Reporting Regulation applies to all students in all schools within the Province’s jurisdiction, including those who are home-schooled. It does not apply to children attending schools in First Nations communities.
Collecting immunization information allows us to connect with families about the importance of disease prevention. It also helps public health to control outbreaks by quickly identifying children who are not fully immunized and helps everyone get back to learning as soon as possible.
If your child received their immunizations from a public health nurse in B.C., the information is automatically entered into the Registry and a record in the system will exist. If your child received any of their immunizations from a physician, pharmacist or out of province, the information about those immunizations may not have been entered into the Registry and a record may be absent or incomplete.
What Will Happen After July 1?
Health Authorities will begin reviewing immunization records information and parents/guardians or students may be contacted for incomplete or missing information. Information will be provided on how to update their school age children’s immunization records and where to drop off the information.
If you are not contacted by public health, it means your records are complete and further action may not be required. In subsequent years, only those who are enrolling in B.C. schools for the first time (e.g., Kindergarten or students who are new to the province), may be required to provide this information.
You can use the online Vaccination Status Indicator tool to find out whether public health already has your child’s immunization record. It tells you if your child’s immunization record is on file with public health, but does not provide any details about their immunization status or history.
What Can You Do Now?
- If you know your child’s immunizations and record are up to date, and you are not contacted by public health and asked to provide information, no further action may be needed
- If you believe your child’s immunization is not complete or does not exist in the B.C. Registry, you may be contacted by public health
You could prepare by doing the following:
- If your child received vaccines through a physician and you have lost their records, contact the physician’s office. Ask for a copy of your child’s immunization record and ensure the immunizations are up to date
- If your child received vaccines outside B.C. you are encouraged to get a copy of their immunization record from their original provider
If you are uncertain about your child’s record or immunization status, you can use Vaccination Status Indicator tool to find out whether public health already has your child’s immunization record.
To learn more, visit your local health authority website:
** Please Note: At present, children attending schools on First Nation Reserves are excluded from this regulation until further notice. For further information please visit First Nations Health Authority.