There are no measles cases in the Interior Health region, but IH still wants to remind people that immunization is the best way to protect yourself and loved ones against measles. (File photo)

B.C. Interior free from measles

Vancouver measles outbreak hasn’t spread to the B.C. Interior

The measles outbreaks in Vancouver and Washington State haven’t spread to the Interior, but that doesn’t mean people shouldn’t be concerned.

“We do not have any confirmed cases of measles in the Interior,” said Dr. Sylvina Mema, a medical health officer with Interior Health. Still, she said, the outbreaks in Vancouver and Washington State present a good opportunity to remind people about the need for immunization, not only for measles but other communicable diseases covered under the B.C. vaccination schedule.

The message IH wants to get out, she explained, is that the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones against measles is to ensure vaccinations are up to date.

“We don’t want people here to panic. We want everybody to get up to date with their immunizations,” said Mema. “The outbreak in Vancouver, as far as we know, has been contained.”

It’s not uncommon to investigate people for measles, she said, especially people who have travelled to parts of the world where the disease is still endemic. But according to Interior Health records, there hasn’t been a case of measles in the IH region for eight years.

In 2010 there was an outbreak with 14 cases, and in 2011, there was another with seven cases.

Mema said the immunization rate for two-year-olds averages 86 per cent across the Interior Health region, which she describes as good, but not as high as they would like to see.

“We would like to have 95 per cent and we are working on that,” said Mema. “It (86 per cent) could be improved, but it is good.”

Mema said there seems to be a range of reasons why people don’t have themselves or their children’s immunized, including not knowing and not having time.

“And some people will be on the fence; they don’t know if vaccines are effective,” said Mema, adding that people can get all their questions answered by Interior Health nurses at local public health centers.

Then there are the people who refuse vaccinations, that “anti-vaxxers.”

“Vaccines are safe and effective, but sometimes people will object and not immunize,” said Mema. “There is a number of individuals that will not be open to hearing the messages we have.”

For those, she said, they don’t engage in an argument.

“It doesn’t take us to anywhere productive,” said Mema, adding that Interior Health has ongoing education campaigns to elevate awareness of the safety and need for immunization. “Having an outbreak so close provide us with an extra boost for people to connect with Interior Health and get immunized.”


Steve Kidd
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
Email me or message me on Facebook
Follow us on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Students and teachers happy to be back at school together again

‘It’s been great to have the kids back’

Historic Hat Creek finds novel way to keep part of site open

VIP shopping experience offers people private visit to site’s gift shop

RCMP urge Williams Lake residents to be cautious as suspect remains on the loose

Man seen speeding on Highway 97 fled from police after colliding with RCMP vehicle

Time for some tick talk to keep people and pets safe from pests

Pesky creatures peak in June, but are out there lurking throughout summer and fall

Cariboo ranchers, lodge operators say Indigenous land title shuts them out

Tsilhqot’in jurisdiction affects grazing, access to private property

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

Federal aid for care home systems needed ahead of second wave, advocates say

Ontario Long Term Care Association calling for more action

B.C. woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Horgan calls for national anti-racism program; will pitch idea to PM, premiers

Premier John Horgan said he’s horrified by the death of George Floyd in the United States

Chilliwack dad rescues two young daughters after truck plunges into lake

“I used every single one of my angels that day,” said Dennis Saulnier

VIDEO: Internal investigation into aggressive arrest by Kelowna Mountie

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Most Read