Toronto parents may be reluctant to vaccinate their children, but when they do, they’re seeing the benefits, according to a new survey by Communitech, a technology-driven community in Waterloo, Ont.
More than four in 10 parents of young children in Toronto were likely or certain to have their children vaccinated for measles, mumps and rubella (CVID), The Toronto Star reported.
But some parents in the Goliath-sized city are simply throwing caution to the wind, according to Communitech spokesman Brent Anderson.
‘Like a bad parent’ are not vaccinating kids, parent explains family’s unhealthy herd immunity
Toronto already has a measles outbreak in the city, and the Communitech survey revealed just how prevalent it is.
An alarming 35 percent of parents of children in Toronto said they haven’t vaccinated their children. If all those parents hadn’t simply skipped the shots, the city would still have about 20 percent of children with two or more negative immunity numbers in the first group of vaccinated children, the survey shows.
Those positive numbers are termed herd immunity, because so many people in a small town or city contract a virus or disease and health officials rely on having close contact with the vaccinated to reach peak immunity.
Measles also has “exceptional but not universal protection,” said Robert Fine of the World Health Organization. Some places may have as little as 3 percent of its population with positive immunity, while five countries with more than 80 percent vaccination rates.
Toronto only has 44 percent of its population vaccinated against measles, Anderson told The Star.
The city’s Dravi vaccine is one of the first against rubella, and is not available nationally and available in very few provinces in the country.
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The only difference between government-funded vaccinations in Ontario and across Canada is the “23 percent gap” between Ottawa’s and Toronto’s Dravi vaccination rates, Anderson told The Star.
Researchers in Toronto asked 6,000 parents of children up to four years old about their vaccination practices during the same study last year. Nearly 70 percent of those same parents said they are currently vaccinating their children.
The large-scale problem is largely in not getting children vaccinated, Fine said.
“If parents get immunized, the biggest risk is they won’t get vaccinated in the first place,” he said.
It’s a serious risk to Canada’s economy, he said.
If left untreated, measles could result in other serious complications, such as blindness, neurological damage, deafness and intellectual disability, Fine said. He said 50 percent of infections in children cause complications.
Because there are no hard and fast laws regarding vaccinations in Canada, his organization hopes to raise awareness about the potential for measles among certain groups.
He said about 400,000 Canadians contract measles annually, and only about half of them get a vaccine.
“Right now in Canada, most of the risk is among communities with few or no immunization status and that is mostly people who don’t come from overseas,” he said.
Anderson said his organization wanted to survey parents to “see what they are actually thinking.”
Like that they’re thinking, you can trust it.
D’Alessandro joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in March 2010 as a general assignment reporter based in Jerusalem, Israel.