(THE NEWS/files)                                Maple Ridge mom Katie Clunn wants government to require vaccines.

(THE NEWS/files) Maple Ridge mom Katie Clunn wants government to require vaccines.

B.C. mom’s petition to make vaccines mandatory at 35,000 signatures

Maple Ridge mom says public tired of hearing about measles

Katie Clunn admits that relaunching her petition recently may have fired people up about measles and vaccinations and whether the latter should be compulsory.

The Maple Ridge mom started her campaign on change.org to make getting vaccines a condition, excluding medical exemptions, for enrolling in public school, three years ago, but it went nowhere.

Now, more than 35,000 have signed the Mandatory Vaccines in B.C. petition.

“I think people are just sick of it now. Three years ago, every once in a while we’d have a case here and there, but now they’re realizing this a yearly thing. This is starting to get really annoying,” Clunn said Thursday.

According to a nationwide Angus Reid poll on Thursday, 70 per cent of respondents believe in mandatory vaccinations. Roughly 24 per cent said it should be the parent’s choice, while seven per cent were undecided.

Over the past two weeks, there have been nine cases of measles in Vancouver. In Washington state, a state of emergency has been called with 65 confirmed cases – with health officials sure that number will rise.

Clunn is encouraged by the provincial government’s latest response – which said it’s considering a registry that would show who’s received vaccines in the education system. She received a letter from the education ministry that says the health ministry is considering a system of mandatory reporting of vaccinations.

“While this is something. It’s not enough. This still leaves our most fragile community members vulnerable,” said Clunn.

“I think it’s a fantastic first step, but I don’t think it’s enough, personally.”

This could still allow unvaccinated kids to bring measles to school and infect kids, who for medical reasons, can’t get vaccinated or who have compromised immune systems.

She still wants vaccination to be a simple condition for all students to be able to attend public school, adding that those who don’t want to immunize their children can home-school their kids.

She also asked why parents would want to deny kids their basic right to health care.

“I don’t even know why they would want to be in public school because they’re just going to learn real science then.”

Ontario requires parents to report their children’s vaccines to the local health officer. That province also requires kids who attend public schools to be immunized, unless there’s a valid exemption for medical or religious reasons.

Clunn said the religious or personal exemptions require people to take a course first and sign a declaration before the exemption is granted.

“If you have a personal exemption, for example, I don’t believe in the science, you still have to take a course, before you’re allowed to get the personal exemption which is better than what B.C.”

That will help people decide if they really want to avoid vaccination, she added.

“They need to make it uncomfortable to get these exemptions.”

With the petition now at more than 35,000 names, Clunn wants people to contact their MLAs.

“Write your MLA because that’s where things are going to change. That’s my big push right now is write to your MLA.”

Addresses are all posted on her Pro Vaccines in B.C. Facebook page.

Fraser Health said Wednesday that it was experiencing, “higher-than-normal call volumes to our public health units and are working to respond to every call.

Measles vaccines are also available through family doctors, walk-in clinics, and for children over five, your local pharmacy.

Call ahead to check on vaccine availability at your pharmacy.

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