Immunization is still vital to preventing another measles outbreak like the one B.C. experienced this spring. (Unsplash)

Risk of measles remains, two months after last confirmed Vancouver Island case

Immunization the only true protection: Island Health medical officer

As the snow cleared in February, something new emerged: Measles. Case after case was reported to the public, and many British Columbians rushed to get immunized and avoid exposure for themselves and their kids.

B.C. saw 29 confirmed cases of measles – eight of those on Vancouver Island – but since May, not much has been heard on the outbreak.

It’s been just over two months since the Island’s last reported exposure, but that doesn’t mean the region is – or will ever be – out of the woods. At least not until everyone gets vaccinated, according to Dr. Dee Hoyano, Island Health medical officer.

“That’s what’s really been brought home to us this last year. We aren’t [out of the woods] until we have measles immunization globally,” Hoyano told Black Press Media by phone. “There’s always a chance that someone can be infected when they travel overseas or when they come to Canada and have been exposed elsewhere.”

READ ALSO: Mistrust, lack of info holding back Canadians getting vaccinated: B.C. pharmacist

READ ALSO: Check immunization records for measles: Island Health

The high rate of immunization in Canada means outbreaks, like the one B.C. experienced earlier this year, don’t have a good chance at continued transmission – but Hoyano is quick to emphasize that all the confirmed cases on the Island were linked to travel outside Canada in some form.

She says Asia, Africa and lately, parts of Europe still have higher rates of measles infection.

The only way to protect yourself and other British Columbians is immunization, she says.

“I think our biggest preventative effort is to ensure that everyone has access to immunization and gets it done,” Hoyano said. “Public education is huge. We just try to get that message out.”

Between public engagement and media coverage of measles exposures, many heard the message.

Island Health administered over 7,300 measles vaccinations since February – double the number administered the year prior.

Ultimately, Hoyano said that even if measles is off the radar for now, vaccinations should remain a priority.

“I don’t think it would be unusual to have another case of measles occurring here again. Just given the amount of travel people do… I think it’s just really important that people think about that in terms of why it’s important to be immunized.”

For more information on measles and immunization, visit

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

View Royal fire chief calls for realistic solutions to ‘mess’ at Thetis Lake

Emergency crews harassed while extinguishing brush fire, rescuing drunk 15-year-old during long weekend calls

Greater Victoria woman goes on gratitude mission to thank first responders

Jen Klein fainted while driving and crashed on Pat Bay Highway in 2019

Non-venomous ball python missing in Vic West

Snake was reported missing to Victoria police Tuesday morning

Multiple Victoria officers injured during violent incidents, including mental health calls over long weekend

Police deploy pepper spray, conducted energy weapon while arresting suspect

B.C. records 146 new COVID-19 cases through long weekend

More that 28 people tested positive for the virus each day since Friday

COVID-19 vaccine efforts provide hope but no silver bullet to stop pandemic: Tam

There are more than two dozen vaccines for COVID-19 in clinical trials around the world

Two people die in propane heated outdoor shower near Princeton

Couple was attending a long weekend gathering

Study shines light on what makes LGBTQ+ youth feel safe in a community

The study goes beyond looking at school or family supports

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

B.C. to allow customers to buy cannabis online for in-store pickup at private shops

Age verification will still be required inside the store

30% of British Columbians would ‘wait and see’ before taking COVID vaccine: poll

Some are concerned about side effects, while others don’t think the virus is a big deal

Don’t leave your hand sanitizer in the sun and other tips to stay COVID safe this summer

Being mindful of staying outside and keeping hand sanitizer, sunscreen out of the sun recommended

Most Read