Mom wants daycares to disclose vaccination rates

News source from CTV News

All smiles, eight-month-old Savannah has mom home 24/7.

But not for long, because Brittany Livingstone is heading back to work in July and is searching for child care in Winnipeg.

“We want to find a place that we like and that we trust,” said Livingstone

Livingstone says she’d also like Savannah to attend a daycare where a large majority of the other children have had their vaccinations.

“It’s sort of ingrained in us that we need to protect our kids,” said Livingstone.

The mom says she should have the right to be informed of the immunization rate in the daycare where Savannah ends up being placed.

In order for that to happen, she says it should be mandatory for parents to provide vaccination records to childcare centres.

“I would like to know the rate of unvaccinated children that would be in my daughter’s daycare room or in that home daycare,” said Livingstone

Dr. Stan Lipnowski, a Winnipeg pediatrician, says when it comes to vaccinations the herd immunity is thinning.

“You need to have 95 per cent immunization rates to have really good herd immunity and we’re not at the rate for all vaccines,” said Lipnowski

Lipnowski commends Livingstone for raising the idea of making daycare vaccination rates public.

“As a parent I would certainly want to know, that my child when I drop them off at daycare is in a safe environment, and if there’s a lot of children running around who do not have their vaccines it’s not as safe an environment as it should be,” said Lipnowski

Right now in Manitoba, daycares can ask for immunization records from parents. It’s voluntary and no child can be denied a spot if they’re unvaccinated.

Cathy Gardiner is the executive director of the Learning and Growing Daycare in Charleswood. She says the centre does not ask whether a child has had his or her shots, but is considering doing it in the future to have that information on hand for emergency purposes only.

“More for planning purposes, preventative purposes if there’s an outbreak, what can we do to protect everyone,” said Gardiner

Gardiner doesn’t see any value in releasing the records to calculate an immunization rate for public use.

“I feel that sharing that information could get pretty dicey,” said Gardiner

And it could become dicey when it comes to privacy issues and the law.

Provincial regulations state child care centres must “keep information related to the child and his/her family confidential.”

A spokesperson for the Manitoba Families department says “immunization records collected by a child care centre are protected” by privacy and personal health information laws. 

The ombudsman’s office says there could be privacy concerns “around the ability to still identify someone, especially if the group is fairly small.”

Even Dr. Lipnowski says patient privacy could be a concern. He also says some kids might be behind in their shots or can’t get them for legitimate health reasons, making it difficult to come up with an accurate vaccination rate.

“It could skew the results a little bit they would have to be interpreted with caution,” said Lipnowski.

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