Money matters when it comes to vaccination rates for Metro Vancouver kids starting kindergarten, according to a new UBC study.
Lead author Richard Carpiano says researchers compared vaccination rates in various neighbourhoods against Richmond, where 90% of kids are immunized.
It found several of the region’s most affluent neighbourhoods were surprisingly far behind.
West Vancouver/ Bowen Island led the pack, with an immunization rate a full 30% lower than the benchmark. In North Vancouver, it was 20% lower, and on Vancouver’s Westside it was 10 % lower.
It also found rates among children attending non-religious private schools were 10% lower than kids in public schools.
On the flip side, kids in the Downtown Eastside has a vaccination rate 12% lower than the benchmark.
Carpiano says the problem with affluent areas tends to be people choosing not to vaccinate while in the DTES it’ accessibility issues.
He says the findings suggest the province needs to look at education and possibly mandating vaccinations.
“Making sure you have reached a certain level of vaccination within a population protects other people who can’t be vaccinated,” he says.
He says we need to take a hard look at what’s working and what’s not, “as well as a broader discussion too about more universal policies regarding requiring vaccination.”