A measles, mumps and rubella vaccine on a countertop at a pediatrics clinic in Greenbrae, Calif. (AP/Eric Risberg)

Unvaccinated teens seek measles shot in wake of Vancouver outbreak

Nine cases have been confirmed at two French-language schools

Vancouver doctors are seeing an uptick in the number of unvaccinated teens and young adults seeking to be inoculated against measles in the wake of an outbreak of the disease at two schools in the city.

Dr. Eric Cadesky, a family physician and president of Doctors of BC, said he’s seen a number of young patients recently who made appointments to get the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine over concerns about the outbreak.

READ MORE: Interior Health on high alert for possible measles cases

“Some of them said their parents were against vaccination because of unreliable sources of information that they received,” Cadesky said. “Others had been hesitant (to be inoculated) because of pressure from peer groups.”

Cadesky said every physician in his practice has noticed a jump in young people asking to get immunized, and he’s heard similar stories from a number of other doctors elsewhere in the province and beyond.

“I’ve heard of people throughout Canada and even doctors around the world saying that millennials are using these outbreaks as an opportunity to revisit the decision that their parents had made for them,” he said.

“And many are making a different decision, which is to protect themselves and also, in many cases, that means protecting the people around them, because not everyone can receive the vaccine.”

Among the patients Cadesky inoculated is Maddi Bisset, who had no vaccinations as a child because her mother believed young children shouldn’t be “pumped full of chemicals.”

“She preferred more ‘natural’ alternatives, including homeopathy and essential oils,” the 23-year-old said in an email interview Wednesday.

“Everything my mother did was with our best interests in mind. I just believe she put too much faith into false articles she found online and did not consider what heavy repercussions not vaccinating your child has on both their health, the public’s health and the possible life-threatening situations it puts at-risk people in.

“With the frightening resurgence of measles in Vancouver, it wasn’t a choice anymore, is was a moral obligation to public safety,” Bisset said of her decision to get immunized.

So far, nine cases of measles have been confirmed at the two French-language schools in Vancouver, a cluster that began after an unvaccinated B.C. child contracted the disease during a family trip to Vietnam, where the highly contagious disease is endemic.

Sheryl Ubelacker, The Canadian Press

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