Legislators in Ontario, Canada have come up with a brilliant idea to combat the rampant misinformation that has spread among anti-vaxxers—make them take a science class!
That’s right; this new bill, tabled on Thursday by Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins, would “force parents seeking an exception from immunization for non-medical purposes to attend an ‘education session’ delivered by their local public health unit,” CTV News reports.
As it stands now, parents are legally obligated to make sure their kids are immunized or they can be fined up to $1,000. However, if any parent files “a statement of conscience or religious belief with the proper medical officer of health,” they can be granted exemption.
Under his new bill, parents would only be granted this exemption if they also complete an immunization education session with a medical officer.
"Choosing to vaccinate your child protects them from disease, and it protects vulnerable children who can't get vaccinated for medical reasons," Hoskins, who is also a family doctor, said in a statement.
In order for children to attend public school, parents must prove that their children are immunized from diseases including diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, pertussis (whooping cough), and meningococcal disease. In April, over 900 children were suspended after parents were unable to prove immunization.
Hoskins explains that, in addition to the class, “health care providers would be required to report vaccines they administer to their local public health unit directly,” which in turn will hopefully reduce unnecessary suspensions caused by out-of-date immunization records.
This also comes after two parents were found guilty in their son’s death when they failed to provide him with the vaccine that would have prevented his death.
Above all, Hoskins hopes that this bill will “help parents make informed decisions about vaccinations.”
Reports suggest that there is a strong likelihood that this bill will pass, giving governments a way to combat the misinformation surrounding vaccinations. It will also be interesting to see if this successfully works in helping children receive vaccinations that can protect everyone—especially other children—from deadly or horrifying diseases.
Banner Image Credit: Senior Airman Areca Wilson via WikkiCommons