School district plans to keep a list of unvaccinated children

New policy in Langley doesn’t require vaccinations but tracks children who don’t get immunized

The Langley School District has approved a policy that will keep a confidential list of students who have not been immunized.

The proposal was quickly passed without debate at Tuesday night’s school board meeting.

School board vice-chair Megan Dykeman, who chairs the committee that developed the policy, said it was a response to “questions that have arisen about vaccination as a whole.”

While there have been plenty of reports that the number of unvaccinated children in schools has grown to the point where it impairs so-called “herd immunity” (which describes when enough people in a given group are vaccinated against a certain disease, that germs can’t travel as easily from person to person and the entire community is less likely to get the disease), Dykeman said it isn’t clear what the situation in Langley is.

“(Right now) there’s no way for us to tell if that’s true or not.”

In 2016, a study by the University of B.C. found most schools within the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority don’t have immunization rates of 90 per cent, which is generally needed for herd immunity.

READ MORE: ‘Fraser Health’ website linked to anti-vaccine site

In the U.S., Oregon has banned unvaccinated children from attending school and state health authorities were sending written warnings to parents if their children were behind on vaccinations for whooping cough, polio, chicken pox, and measles.

Dykeman said that keeping un-immunized children from attending school was simply not an option.

“They’re going to come to school,” Dykeman said.

“We can’t have a policy on the books that we can’t enforce.”

The final wording of the policy slightly softens the language of the first-draft version, saying that the school board “requests” rather than “requires” parents and guardians provide proof of immunization records of their children upon registration in the Langley School District.

The policy directs school staff to keep a list of children who have not been immunized “in a secure file in the school office to only be accessed should there be the threat of an outbreak or a confirmed case of a communicable disease within the school community.”

During an outbreak, parents or guardians of students who have not been immunized will be allowed to “choose to keep their children home until the risk is eliminated.”

If they do, “the school will make available an educational program for the child(ren) during this temporary time.”

According to school board records, the discussion of vaccination records and whether they should be required or mandatory began in September 2015 when an article was published in the Victoria News entitled “Mandatory Vaccination Records Urged for Schools”.

READ MORE: Mandatory vaccination records urged for schools

The article referred to a call by the provincial health officer, who added his voice to that of the Canadian Medical Association in calling for mandatory declaration of vaccination when children enrol at school, as was done in Ontario and New Brunswick.

A report was made to the board at a closed-door meeting on Jan. 26, 2016 and the matter was referred to the policy committee.

“It is important to note that the request (for vaccination records) would not (imply) that the Board of Education requires students to be vaccinated, but rather it be simply a request for formal records of any vaccinations received,” one report on the discussions noted.

The Wikipedia entry on “vaccine controversies” notes that “vaccine controversies have occurred since almost 80 years before the terms vaccine and vaccination were introduced, and continue to this day. Despite scientific consensus that recommended vaccines are safe and effective, unsubstantiated scares regarding their safety still occur, resulting in outbreaks and deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases.”



dan.ferguson@langleytimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Surrey 37 per cent behind in housing supply projections

Of 18 cities in Metro Vancouver, only City of North Vancouver and Richmond met or exceeded projections

Winning Christmas card art shown at Surrey gallery

Arts Council of Surrey’s annual competition won by Edwin Stephen and Nancy Painter

Delta police campaign shines a light relationship violence

Campaign comes after a Delta man was charged with assault with a weapon and uttering threats

‘A labour of love’: High school turns into ‘toy shop’ for Surrey Christmas Bureau

Fraser Heights Secondary has been making toys for the non-profit for more than a decade

MAP: Christmas light displays in Surrey and beyond

Send us pictures of your National Lampoon-style lit-up homes, nativity scenes or North Pole playlands

Owners of hotels on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside fight $1 expropriation in court

Vancouver City Council voted to expropriate the properties for $1 each in November

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Island family’s Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

B.C. pharmaceutical company’s stocks double in value after successful lupus drug trial

More than 40 per cent of patients using voclosporin saw improvements in kidney function

Second warning on romaine lettuce from California region as another E. coli case reported

Two cases of E. coli have been reported in relation to the illness in the U.S.

Braille signs coming to TransLink bus stops in 2020

Transit authority says it’s the first to do so in Canada and the United States

CUPE issues 72-hour strike notice for SkyTrain

Local 7000 release states ‘parties are still bargaining’, union will have job action plan by Saturday

Abbotsford man was ‘unintended victim’ of 2018 fatal shooting, police say

Jagvir Malhi, 19, was gunned down while on his way to university

Most Read