New research from BC Children’s Hospital and the University of British Columbia suggests about a quarter of people in B.C. believe parents should have to pay a fine or tax if their child’s immunizations aren’t up to date. (File)

Should B.C. parents receive money if they make sure their kids are vaccinated?

New survey looks at public opinion around government’s role in forcing immunizations

Should parents get financial compensation for making sure their child is fully vaccinated?

A study, released Wednesday by the BC Children’s Hospital and UBC, suggests nearly 30 per cent of British Columbians agree with the idea of giving parents a tax break if their child has all age-recommended vaccinations. Another 20 per cent agree with an even further idea: Parents receiving some kind of financial reward, and not simply a tax credit.

READ MORE: B.C. launches immunization program at schools to stamp out measles resurgence

Lead researcher Dr. Julie Bettinger mainly examined public opinion as to how far government should go in forcing immunizations. Her study was conducted in 2017, but its results remain relevant because of the recent measles cases throughout B.C.

About 23 per cent of British Columbians agree with parents having to pay a fine or tax if their child’s immunizations aren’t up to date. Another 10 per cent agreed parents who lose their jobs should be denied unemployment benefits if their children aren’t immunized.

“Some other countries have implemented policies that create financial penalties for not vaccinating, but our research indicates such measures would not be acceptable to most British Columbians,” said Bettinger.

“Our research provides a snapshot of popular attitudes towards vaccines and vaccine policy. It is important context for policy makers tackling the growing public health issue of outbreaks of vaccine-preventable illness.”

Eighty per cent of survey respondents supported requiring parents to report their child’s vaccination status at school, as well as requiring “anti-vaxxers” to sign a form stating their choice not to comply with medical advice.

READ MORE: Measles vaccine registry likely for B.C. schools this fall

The vast majority of respondents also supported mandatory education sessions for parents who do not vaccinate their children and even banning unvaccinated kids from school, unless they have a medical exemption.

Meanwhile, BC Children’s Hospital said previous research suggests one to three per cent of people cannot be persuaded to vaccinate at all, and that 15 to 20 per cent are unsure and want more information.

The growing number of confirmed cases of measles in B.C., now at 27, has prompted the province to implement at-school clinics for children to get the shot, as well as a plans for a registry for vaccination status this fall.

The study was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal and funded by the British Columbia Immunization Committee, which makes recommendations to the Ministry of Health on the implementation of a new or revised vaccine program.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

CityWest mistakenly overcharging customers on PST since 2013

Prince Rupert’s telecommunications company sent out notices to residents informing them of the error

Council approves $317,000 in property tax exemptions

Although council stayed the course this year, mayor says there is an appetite for public discussion

Bear orphanage dealing with high number of cubs

Northern Lights Wildlife Society needs fruit and vegetables for orphans

Northwest Wave Riders return from Victoria Dragon Boat Festival

This was the first time in 25 years that northern B.C. teams competed

Feds approve $4M for Tahltan protected and conserved areas

Well defined stewardship will help nation reduce uncertainties for resource partners

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. VIEWS: Pipelines set to roll as federal politicians posture

Projects to drive B.C., Canadian economy in years ahead

B.C. Lions fall to 1-9 after 13-10 loss to Ticats

Lowly Leos have dropped six straight CFL contests

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. man who died after rescuing swimmer was known for helping others

Shaun Nugent described as a dad, a coach, a hero and ‘stand-up guy’ at celebration of life

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Racist confrontation in Richmond parking lot caught on camera

Woman can be heard yelling racial slurs, swear words at woman in apparent parking dispute

Most Read