Toronto city council voted late on Friday to give city staff more time to complete the survey of 50,000 people required to take part in a measles vaccination effort — a sign that measles vaccines are safe despite a recent outbreak in the United States. The city issued the mandatory survey on Thursday. If staff did not find every Canadian citizen who hadn’t already had a one-time measles vaccination shot, they would have forfeited $4.7 million in public health funding, plus interest.
But on Friday evening, city council gave staff a week to determine where participants were located. At a special Friday evening meeting, council vote 51-38 to give them another seven days to complete the survey. Council members had previously voted to hire a retired provincial judge to oversee the process, which is crucial for the city as it seeks to track down residents who are not vaccinated and potentially spread the measles virus. Toronto has had an outbreak of measles since March. (Canadian public health officials say the disease is impossible to prevent since a person can get the illness without even touching the virus.) “While I don’t support [them taking] this extra week, I’m disappointed that Toronto, which has one of the best health systems in the world, has to take an extra seven days to complete this important survey,” Mayor John Tory said.
While the move failed to please Canadians who oppose mandatory vaccination, council members said they are trying to find a way to balance the need to ensure the safety of city residents with privacy concerns.
Read the full story at The Toronto Star.
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