WATERLOO REGION, ONTARIO — In a massive offensive against the growing number of measles outbreaks triggered by people who refuse to vaccinate, the Region of Waterloo Public Health and Services Department has issued a stern warning to students not up-to-date on their vaccinations: Get vaccinated, or face a 20-day suspension.
Over 6,000 notices went out to students in the region, telling them that they must provide proof of vaccination by March 26 or face the suspension sentence the following day, CBC reports.
A total of 6,129 students will receive notices this week after an initial 9,595 were warned last fall.
The only other response that will be accepted aside from proof of vaccination will be a valid exemption. Students in violation will be allowed back to school once they get their vaccination records current.
While Waterloo Region allows for religious/ideological exemptions in addition to medical ones, the process for parents to attain the former includes providing legal documentation along with completing an education course and other paperwork.
As of February 26, 13 people have contracted measles in Vancouver, which is about 2,000 miles west of Waterloo. As with another outbreak that took place in Nova Scotia back in 2017, the disease is usually brought in by travelers who transfer it to a low-vaccination pockets within the population.
Earlier this month, The Globe and Mail reported that health officials are warning Canada could see more outbreaks in the coming year due to low vaccination rates throughout the country.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), people who refuse to vaccinate are among the top 10 health threats facing the world in the coming year.
Anti-vaccination sentiment is also rising in the U.S.
“Since 2009, the number of ‘philosophical-belief’ vaccine non-medical exemptions has risen in 12 of the 18 states that currently allow this policy: Arkansas, Arizona, Idaho, Maine, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Utah,” the authors of a study which appeared in the science journal PLOS ONE wrote.
Globally, measles is a leading cause of death for children, killing an average of 246 children under age 5 every day.
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