Measles: B.C. Community pharmacists see increase in demand

February 26, 2019 Media Releases, News

Vancouver, BC (February 26, 2019) – Community pharmacists in British Columbia have reported an increased demand for measles booster shots and vaccinations as public health officials urge British Columbians to make sure their vaccinations are up-to-date.

As of Sunday afternoon, 13 cases of measles had been confirmed in the Vancouver area by Vancouver Coastal Health, with one individual travelling by plane through Vancouver to Edmonton.

Since news reports, pharmacists are reporting a demand by patients seeking the publicly funded Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) vaccine with one Lower Mainland pharmacy providing 30 immunizations in a day. B.C. pharmacists can provide vaccinations to adults and children ages 5 years and older.

“Our pharmacists have seen an increase in demand from patients wanting to get MMR vaccines,” said pharmacist Linda Gutenberg, Deputy CEO of the BC Pharmacy Association. “Pharmacies are open late in the evening, on weekends and holidays. That’s why we are one of the most accessible and convenient health-care providers in the province.”

Most individuals do not need an appointment to get a vaccine, but patients may wish to call their local pharmacy to find out if they have supply and, if not, when they will be receiving it. There is no cost to patients for the publicly funded MMR vaccine.

There are more than 1,300 community pharmacies in B.C., and 98 per cent of them have at least one pharmacist who is authorized to provide immunizations.

The BC Centre for Disease Control recommends that children are given two doses of the Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) vaccine, with the first dose given at 12 months old and the second dose, which includes the varicella vaccine at 4- to 6-years old. If children or adolescents are unimmunized, they it is recommended they get two doses of the measles-containing vaccine.

Adults born after Jan. 1, 1970, should check their immunization records to see they have received two doses of a measles-containing vaccine (given as MMR). It is important, especially for travellers. For adults born before Jan. 1, 1970 are generally assumed to be protected

Adults who are born before Jan. 1, 1970, are assumed to have had measles are protected. However, those adults without a history of measles or a vaccine should be given one dose of the MMR vaccine.

It is safe for adults who are unsure of their immunity (whether they have had the measles or had two doses of MMR) to get the vaccine again, according to public health officials.


Media inquiries:

Angie Gaddy
Director, Communications
BC Pharmacy Association
(604) 269-2868