Ontario considers legislation for mandatory science classes for anti-vaxxer parents

Could Forcing Anti-Vaxxer Parents To Attend A Science Class On Immunization Change Their Minds? Ontario Is About To Try

A new piece of legislation is currently being examined in Canada which would force parents with anti-vaxxer beliefs to take a Ontario science class if they actually do not want to vaccinate their children. The legislation would be an attempt to end the dangerous trend of parents refusing to vaccinate their kids.

Ontario’s new liberal government is hoping to end vaccine avoidance, by making it a mandatory requirement that any parent who seeks to be exempted from giving their kids vaccines have to attend an education session that goes over the facts about immunizations. The legislation would be an amendment to the current Immunization of School Pupils Act and would make a class at the anti-vaxxer parent’s public health unit a requirement. The aim is that anti-vaxxers would change their position once they learned how vaccines work and exactly what kind of risk they would be placing their children and the children around them at with their reluctance to vaccinate, though it has been argued that many anti-vaxxers are already aware of the information.

The Minister of Health for Ontario, Eric Hoskins, also released a statement, according to CTV News, which explained the logistics behind his decision to attempt to use the Ontario science class option to change the minds of anti-vaxxers with such a bill.

“Choosing to vaccinate your child protects them from disease, and it protects vulnerable children who can’t get vaccinated for medical reasons. That’s why it’s important for parents to keep their children’s immunizations up to date. If passed, the proposed amendments to the Immunization of School Pupils Act would help parents and guardians make informed decisions about vaccination.”

Hoskins brought forth the bill on Thursday. Ontario, other provinces in Canada, and indeed the United States as well, have been dealing with a growing number of parents choosing not to vaccinate and putting children at risk. One Alberta couple are actually currently facing up to five years of imprisonment after they did not vaccinate their son, and later he was diagnosed with meningitis. The child died.

The Ontario science class would only be required for parents who are against vaccination for their child because of religious or moral objections. Hopefully the anti-vaccination parents would make a more informed and educated decision. The amendment was necessary as currently Ontario’s immunization act already outlines that a parent has a duty to vaccinate their children or face a fine of up to $1,000, however, this can be avoided easily. A parent can be granted an exemption from vaccinating as long as they file “a statement of conscience or religious belief with the proper medical officer of health.”

Gizmodo wrote of the fact that both Canada and the United States have both been greatly affected by the beliefs of Anti-vaxxer parents when it resulted in a recent outbreak of measles in both countries. They mention trying to attain a so-called “herd immunity” in which enough persons are immunized that there can be no sustained chains of transmission possible. If achieved, diseases such as diphtheria, measles, mumps, polio, rubella, pertussis (whooping cough), meningococcal disease and even tetanus would be protected against, and numerous lives could be saved.

Ontario takes vaccination quite seriously and in order to attend a public school there, parents have to prove immunization against dangerous diseases like polio, measles, whooping cough and a range of others. Back in April, Waterloo, Ontario, suspended 900 kids from school when it was revealed that their parents had neglected to update their vaccine records. Implementing the mandatory science class for immunization education is entirely feasible.

Ontario has a liberal majority in their government and it is expected that Hoskin’s bill will obtain enough support to be enacted.

[Photo Courtesy of Sonar512/ Shutterstock]

Comments