Story highlights Growing concern about delayed measles vaccination program.
How a delay can lead to dangerous outbreaks.
Much talk is being made these days regarding the alleged “measles vaccine delay” in Toronto.
Measles is highly contagious and people aren’t typically allowed to be immunized in public schools in the United States.
But the U.S. doesn’t allow vaccine delays in Canada. So when a plan was first proposed this summer by parents in Ontario to delay vaccinations for their children, that seemed like a horrifying sign of things to come.
But that’s not what Toronto’s Dr. Eileen O’Connor said she expected to be happening.
In fact, she expected the massive outpouring of support for her policy that grants vaccines to babies in kindergarten, and implemented “snowball theory” to keep the program moving forward. But she also expects the federal government to approve and offer the vaccines to young children in a matter of weeks, which would have “a big impact on preventing disease.”
Over the last few weeks, people have been taking to social media and to the Toronto Star to advocate for vaccination and defend parents who claim delaying their kids’ vaccinations has saved their lives.
But it’s complicated, and some of these claims are true.
First of all, when doctors examine a child, they’re trying to determine what’s wrong with them, not what’s wrong with the child.
And we know exactly what’s wrong: It’s an illness and whatever is wrong isn’t going to fix itself by fixing your body.
So since there isn’t enough evidence to suggest that vaccines protect a child in the long run, doctors agree the best thing is to start immunizing.
But if vaccines need longer than the recommended 21 days to take effect, that just delays the vaccine and means the child is exposed to the virus longer.
This is when people that don’t vaccinate — particularly parents, but of course kids too — start spreading the disease. In this case, they’re spreading it to everyone else that isn’t vaccinated — meaning schools, schools within schools, and ultimately businesses and other public places.
In July, Dr. Daniel Magnan, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto told the Toronto Star, “I do expect that within the next couple of weeks, you’ll start seeing vaccines in public schools like you would for other things.”
What do children get in 28 days?
If the vaccines were recommended in the same amount of time the measles vaccine takes to take effect, a child who had measles by 28 days would be vaccinated with this booster, and would have been protected from future measles as well.