Toronto Public Health seeks to limit religious, philosophical vaccine exemptions – The Daily Courier

Toronto Public Health seeks to limit religious, philosophical vaccine exemptions - The Daily Courier
Province should scrap philosophical, religious exemptions for student vaccinations: Torontos top doctor
Torontos top doctor is calling on the province to consider scrapping philosophical and religious exemptions for immunizing students.

The citys medical officer of health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, made the recommendation in a new report outlining Toronto Public Healths strategy to address vaccine hesitancy.

Currently, under the Immunization of School Pupils Act, children are required to have proof of immunization for certain diseases to attend school in Ontario, unless there is a "valid medical exemption or affidavit of conscience or religious belief," the health ministry's Travis Kann noted in a statement.

Toronto Public Health offers vaccines directly to students to protect against human papillomavirus (HPV), meningitis and hepatitis B.

"Vaccine hesitancy, the reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccines, is a growing concern in Canada," she wrote in the report. "It stems, in large part, from misinformation about vaccines that spreads on social media platforms and the Internet."

Public health officials estimate that in Canada, about 20 per cent of parents are vaccine hesitant.

To respond to this growing threat and address the root causes of vaccine hesitancy, and maintain high vaccination rates, Toronto Public Health has developed a comprehensive strategy that involves health care providers, parents, students, educators, and government agencies at the provincial and national levels, the report reads.

For Toronto students, there has been steady increase in philosophical and religious exemptions over the last decade and a bit, de Villa notes. Those increased from 0.8 per cent for the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine in the 2006 to 2007 school year to 1.72 per cent last year.

In the report, de Villa said the board of health should ask the province to consider removing philosophical and religious exemptions under the Immunization of School Pupils Act and only allow medical exemptions completed by a certified health care provider.

New York City mayor declares end of measles public health emergency

Torontos medical officer of health said another way to help combat vaccine hesitancy is to change advertising standards in the country to prevent misinformation from circulating. She said would also like to see social media organizations and major search engines develop guidelines to help filter out misinformation.

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The report states that when unscientific misinformation circulates, it puts vulnerable babies, cancer patients of all ages, and immune-compromised individuals at unnecessary and avoidable risk of serious complications, long-term disability, and the potential for death.

Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen De Villa says research shows vaccine-hesitant parents are mainly concerned about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, and often have trouble identifying credible evidence-based information sources.

Messages describing the scientifically-proven benefits of vaccines need to be protected and maintained in an environment where misinformation and hoaxes can spread rapidly and unchecked, negatively influencing parents and contributing to vaccine hesitancy, the report reads.

Legislating restrictions on anti-vaccine information has to be balanced with the Charter right to free speech that all Canadians enjoy.

In response to the growing threat posed by measles, New Brunswicks government has proposed ending non-medical exemptions for vaccines. Currently, parents who do not want their children to be vaccinated for religious or personal belief reasons can obtain an exemption. The provinces education minister said this poses a serious threat to the health and safety of children and that such exemptions should be eliminated.

Another recommendation put forward in the report includes asking Health Canada to consider creating a Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, which would support the few individuals who do suffer a serious side effect from a vaccine.

While serious side effects are rare, vaccination carries a small risk and in some countries, notably the US., compensation programs exist to provide funding to those affected. Quebec has had its own compensation program since the 1970s. However, some critics say such programs are subject to abuse by people who falsely claim to have been injured by vaccines.

According to the report, approximately one out of one million to one out of 10 million doses administered result in serious reactions.

The report from Toronto Public Health makes a series of other recommendations, including the creation of an online searchable database detailing any adverse events linked to vaccines and a push for social media companies to only allow evidence-based information about vaccines to be posted on their platforms.

These types of compensation programs, which are government-funded, exist in 17 high-income countries but Quebec is the only province in Canada to establish one, the report states.

Public health officials are increasingly sounding the alarm over the growing threat of vaccine reluctance or refusal, which is often fuelled by misinformation spread online. The World Health Organization said vaccine reluctance or refusal is one of the top global health threats this year.

Developing a vaccine injury compensation program in Ontario or nationally would strengthen vaccine acceptance, and provide strong ethical public health policy."

To respond to this growing threat and address the root causes of vaccine hesitancy, and maintain high vaccination rates, Toronto Public Health has developed a comprehensive strategy that involves health care providers, parents, students, educators, and government agencies at the provincial and national levels, the report reads.

An innocent teen who was caught up in gunfire while running back inside to get his shoes died in his mothers arms while she applied pressure to a bullet hole in his head, a family friend said.

Torontos medical officer of health said another way to help combat vaccine hesitancy is to change advertising standards in the country to prevent misinformation from circulating. She said would also like to see social media organizations and major search engines develop guidelines to help filter out misinformation.

Torontos top doctor is calling on the province to consider scrapping philosophical and religious exemptions for immunizing students.

The report states that when unscientific misinformation circulates, it puts vulnerable babies, cancer patients of all ages, and immune-compromised individuals at unnecessary and avoidable risk of serious complications, long-term disability, and the potential for death.

The citys medical officer of health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, made the recommendation in a new report outlining Toronto Public Healths strategy to address vaccine hesitancy.

Toronto Public Health offers vaccines directly to students to protect against human papillomavirus (HPV), meningitis and hepatitis B.

The Post also published an article June 19 identifying an upper east side Manhattan hedge fund manager and his wife, Bernard and Lisa Selz, who have been donating millions of dollars to anti-vaccine campaigns carried on throughout the United States. The couple declined to discuss their activities and donations with the Post. Tax filings for the couples charitable foundation reveal they donated $200,000 to a legal fund for the disgraced and defrocked British former physician Andrew Wakefield.

Public health officials estimate that in Canada, about 20 per cent of parents are vaccine hesitant.

To respond to this growing threat and address the root causes of vaccine hesitancy, and maintain high vaccination rates, Toronto Public Health has developed a comprehensive strategy that involves health care providers, parents, students, educators, and government agencies at the provincial and national levels, the report reads.

The term herd immunity means that a sufficient majority of a population carries immune resistance to an infectious disease so that the infecting agent has insufficient opportunity to survive and propagate, thus providing protection for the populations unvaccinated minority. The minority would include either immune deficient or suppressed persons, those who cannot receive a vaccine because of a preexisting disease such as cancer, or some other medical contraindication to vaccination.

In the report, de Villa said the board of health should ask the province to consider removing philosophical and religious exemptions under the Immunization of School Pupils Act and only allow medical exemptions completed by a certified health care provider.

Torontos medical officer of health said another way to help combat vaccine hesitancy is to change advertising standards in the country to prevent misinformation from circulating. She said would also like to see social media organizations and major search engines develop guidelines to help filter out misinformation.

“The next step is for the supplier of the vaccine, GlaxoSmithKline, to complete a documentation and quality assurance process. This includes ensuring, for example, that the vaccine hasnt gone outside of its cold chain temperature boundary while it was shipped.”

The report states that when unscientific misinformation circulates, it puts vulnerable babies, cancer patients of all ages, and immune-compromised individuals at unnecessary and avoidable risk of serious complications, long-term disability, and the potential for death.

Officials confirmed this afternoon that a new shipment of 52,000 vaccines had arrived and would being dispatched to areas which need it the most “as soon as possible.”

Messages describing the scientifically-proven benefits of vaccines need to be protected and maintained in an environment where misinformation and hoaxes can spread rapidly and unchecked, negatively influencing parents and contributing to vaccine hesitancy, the report reads.

“The vaccine has been unloaded from the plane and is on its way to the national store,” the ministrys National Health Coordination Centre (NHCC) said in a statement.

Legislating restrictions on anti-vaccine information has to be balanced with the Charter right to free speech that all Canadians enjoy.

Another recommendation put forward in the report includes asking Health Canada to consider creating a Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, which would support the few individuals who do suffer a serious side effect from a vaccine.

The rise comes amid increased demand for vaccine exemptions as parents, some dubious of government control or worried about the now-debunked link between immunization and autism, seek to opt their children out of the mandatory shot schedule. Some states are starting to crack down on the exemptions in response to measles outbreaks; others are considering offering parents even more ways to opt out.

According to the report, approximately one out of one million to one out of 10 million doses administered result in serious reactions.

“Unfortunately, people who are unvaccinated tend to interact with one another more than with everybody else,” said David R. Sinclair, a University of Pittsburgh public health researcher who worked with the Texas Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics on the study. But many of the people who contracted measles in the study’s simulations were not vaccine refusers.

These types of compensation programs, which are government-funded, exist in 17 high-income countries but Quebec is the only province in Canada to establish one, the report states.

New York leaders ended the states non-medical exemptions, but also introduced three other bills that never made it beyond the initial committee. One would have required doctors to sign a form saying they told parents seeking a religious exemption about the medical risks of doing so. Another would have expanded the kinds of health care providers who could authorize a medical exemption.

Developing a vaccine injury compensation program in Ontario or nationally would strengthen vaccine acceptance, and provide strong ethical public health policy."