Toronto vows to provide free vaccines to non-immune workers hit by measles outbreak

The number of Toronto employees who have been vaccinated against an outbreak of measles among the city’s non-immune workforce remains at a steady pace, The Globe and Mail reports. On Tuesday, Toronto city council…

Toronto vows to provide free vaccines to non-immune workers hit by measles outbreak

The number of Toronto employees who have been vaccinated against an outbreak of measles among the city’s non-immune workforce remains at a steady pace, The Globe and Mail reports. On Tuesday, Toronto city council voted 392 to 28 to allow city staff to not only recover pay during time off due to a measles outbreak, but also receive $200 towards a public vaccine.

After testing at 57 clinics yielded 99 cases of measles, Toronto has not seen a case for almost a month. That includes in the city’s buildings, hospitals, schools, and other facilities that house the city’s non-immune employees. Of that total, approximately 90 per cent of those city staff have been vaccinated. More than half of the city’s employees do not have proof of having had immunizations. For those who do not, the vote gives them another reason to seek a shot.

The outbreak is not an entirely new problem for the city — in 2009, a measles outbreak struck Toronto children’s hospitals. Nine cases were diagnosed of the virus; all involved no trace of infection in the family. Among those, three children were exposed to measles in the care of a third-party contractor, during which time they received three doses of measles-rubella vaccine. It is still uncertain whether these three employees will be vaccinated.

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Since the first cases of the virus were reported in late September, the city has added 66 employee immunization clinics to its schedule.

Last week, Toronto Health, the province of Ontario, and the city were granted permission to relocate the city’s measles zone — with no barriers to access — until Jan. 29, 2019. This would allow people to receive a second dose of the MMR vaccine. Toronto Mayor John Tory, however, has again suggested that people should not show up for work until Nov. 1, 2019.

As of now, an official range of outbreaks are expected to continue until January. Outbreaks of various communicable diseases continue to flare up across Canada and the United States, with hundreds affected in and around Toronto and Washington, D.C. in recent weeks. This summer, a case of measles was reported in Nassau County, New York, prompting nearly 2,000 new health alerts in New York City. In the Baltimore region, more than 300 people have been infected in recent weeks and another 48 cases have been reported in recent weeks in Anne Arundel County.

Read the full story at The Globe and Mail.

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