Interior Health says it has yet to see any cases of the measles, days after Vancouver Coastal Health declared an outbreak at two urban schools. The U.N. health agency said the resurgence was happening at a global level, including in wealthy nations where vaccination coverage has historically been high.
"We have a universal immunization system in B.C. now, and the important thing - what we need to do - is to take the steps to make sure more people are immunized".
"Action is coming", said Dix.
Similarly, Dr. Rio Magpantay, DoH-Region 2 health director, said the department would continue to conduct an outbreak response immunization program for children six to 59 months old regardless of immunization status.
Vancouver, Canada (not to be mistaken for Vancouver, Washington, which is also now suffering a measles outbreak) has had nine cases of measles confirmed just this month. The other case is unrelated. The infection can lead to serious complications including pneumonia, encephalitis and can even be fatal.
"So I think what we want to stress is that right now is really a good time to make sure you are up to date with two doses of measles vaccine if you were born after 1970, because we are seeing these importations", she said.
Measles is considered a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus that can spread through sneezing, coughing and close personal contact.
In fact, many people shared a news story about a measles outbreak in Victoria from 2014.
On Tuesday, the health authority said at least 36 students and staff members from the three schools affected are now not attending classes because the students are either not vaccinated or don't have proof of vaccination.
Washington now allows vaccination exemptions for children at public or private schools or licensed day-care centers based on medical, religious and personal or philosophical beliefs.
Dix says following the Fraser Valley outbreak, the area became one of the highest areas for immunization in the province without any policy changes. Unless an exemption is claimed, a child is required to be vaccinated against or show proof of acquired immunity for almost a dozen diseases - including polio, whooping cough and mumps - before they can attend school or a child care center.
Mr. Dix said provincial medical officers of health have the authority to exclude children and adults without vaccination proof from schools. According to the petition, vaccination records are not mandatory upon enrolling children in BC schools.
Katie Clunn of Maple Ridge, B.C., who started the online petition, said vaccination is not only about protecting one's own children, but "others as well".
The Angus Reid opinion poll released Thursday shows 70 per cent of respondents believe mandatory vaccination should be a requirement for children entering school.