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Low vaccination rates in wealthier Vancouver-area neighbourhoods

Last Updated Feb 17, 2019 at 5:49 pm PDT

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Vaccination rates are linked to affluence

Only 83 per cent of kindergarten-age children are vaccinated in West Vancouver

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – As Vancouver deals with an outbreak of measles, data shows vaccination rates have dipped across the Vancouver Coastal Health region.

Richard Carpiano, a professor at the University of California, Riverside, says factors like money, time and bias play a big role in vaccination rates.

Data from Vancouver Coastal Health shows a lower rate of vaccinations in more affluent areas, including West Vancouver.

Only 83 per cent of kindergarten-age children in West Vancouver are vaccinated, which doesn’t surprise Carpiano.

He says that’s because of the rise in anti-vaxxers – parents who don’t want to vaccinate their kids.

“In more affluent areas throughout Vancouver, we see lower rates,” he says. “And that does suggest vaccine hesitancy can be a really significant factor that’s going on here.”

Carpiano notes the same trait is seen in the Downtown Eastside, but says in that area, parents may not have the means to vaccinate children.

Dr. Monika Naus with the BC Centre for Disease Control says the outbreak in Vancouver isn’t alarming when compared to the provincial average for measles.

“This kind of outbreak, at this point it is really a small outbreak of measles,” she says.

Naus says outbreaks like this are common, and are often triggered by tourists visiting from outside of North America.

She says an outbreak is triggered once two cases of measles are confirmed.