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A shot of common sense: Canada needs national vaccination strategy

Canada needs to harmonize vaccination schedules across the country and establish a national vaccination registry to help address outbreaks of infectious diseases like measles, argues an editorial in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

“Though certain illnesses might respect geographic boundaries, measles will not remain within provincial borders, because it has such a high transmissibility,” writes Dr. Gordon Giddings, editorial fellow at CMAJ. “It must be managed and monitored with a national solution.”

The World Health Organization recommends a 95% minimum rate of vaccination for herd immunity to prevent the spread of infectious diseases like measles, which is particularly infectious. However, Canada’s low vaccination rates have placed us 28th out of 29 of the world’s richest countries in adherence.

To contain outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, we need to be able to quickly and easily identify and notify children and adults who are not up to date in their vaccinations. A national vaccination registry as well as harmonized national vaccination schedules, which currently vary by province and territory, would help.

“Unless these measures are put in place, Canadians can expect to see more measles outbreaks,” concludes Dr. Giddings.

For more information on measles, visit CMAJ’s measles resource pages at http://www.cmaj.ca/site/misc/measles.xhtml.


Measles vaccination: a shot of common sense, Gordon Giddings MD, CMAJ, DOI:10.1503/cmaj.140587, published online 26 May 2014.