Toronto parents of children not vaccinated facing visitor passes as city halts programs

The city of Toronto says it is “pausing” the programs of those who haven’t vaccinated their children against a range of childhood illnesses in response to a recent rash of illnesses. As many as…

Toronto parents of children not vaccinated facing visitor passes as city halts programs

The city of Toronto says it is “pausing” the programs of those who haven’t vaccinated their children against a range of childhood illnesses in response to a recent rash of illnesses.

As many as 300 children in the northern Ontario municipality were affected by the outbreak that began in March, according to a recent report.

Treaty District Public Health began contacting members of families whose children were absent from the following classes: Totball, Softball, Mommy and Me, Muay Thai, Discovery class, Peel School for the Deaf, Life Skills, Chinese. Parks and recreation programs within those boundaries will also be cancelled.

More information on the city’s website is listed here.

Toronto Public Health’s Dr. Mark Hopkinson told the National Post that this outbreak is unusual for Toronto’s nursery school networks and not necessarily the result of a spike in vaccination rates.

“The outbreak is relatively isolated,” Hopkinson said, adding that this should not result in a scenario like last year’s measles outbreak that resulted in 200 cases of the measles in Toronto.

All in all, Hopkinson said he’s worried the outbreak might show that “parents are not following the directions, not telling them about the child’s medical history, not providing that information at all, not re-evaluating their consciences and not vaccinating.”

City of Toronto spokesperson Jessica Fletcher told Canadian news outlet CTV News that all parents are expected to send their children to a vaccination clinic or arrange for them to receive the necessary vaccinations at school. Those who failed to do so were issued visitor passes that would allow them to come for the child’s enrolment ceremony, but not before. Fletcher didn’t address reports that parents of absent children were given black armbands to wear.

Toronto Public Health didn’t immediately respond to multiple requests for comment by the Post.

This post was updated with comment from the City of Toronto.

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