Government has approved the Vaccination Status Reporting Regulation requiring parents or guardians to report the vaccination status of their school-age children. This regulation comes into force on July 1 and public health units will begin implementation of the regulation in September of 2019.
Recent outbreaks of vaccine-preventable disease in BC 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 29 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.
Phase two is the introduction of the Vaccination Status Reporting Regulation (Regulation) under the Public Health Act. When the Regulation is enacted on July 1, 2019, every student from K to 12 in public and independent schools, and those who are home-schooled, will be expected to have their complete immunization records in the Provincial Immunization Registry (the Registry).
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 be reviewing immunization records starting in late August and then will contact only those parents/guardians or students with 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 no further action is 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), will be required to provide this information.
What Can You Do Now, Before The New School Year?
- 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 is required.
- If you believe your child’s immunization is not complete or does not exist in the BC Registry, you will be contacted by public health. You could prepare by doing the following:
- Students who received their vaccines through a physician and for whom parents have misplaced their child’s records are encouraged to contact the physician’s office to receive a copy of their immunization record and to ensure the immunizations are up to date.
- Students who received their vaccines outside BC 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 contact your public health unit to determine the status of the record and to receive information on what to do next. If needed, missing immunizations may be obtained through public health, and immunizing physicians and pharmacists.
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.