Canadian kids get the new mandatory MMR shot

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When parents of school-aged children in Saskatchewan, Canada, see their child’s immunization certificate, they’ll also see a “rong” or “q” printed in blue ink: that means that the child was vaccinated.

In the province of Saskatchewan, vaccination is mandatory for school-aged children. A provincewide initiative started in 2015 requires all children under 12 to be vaccinated against five diseases including: polio, diptheria, meningitis, chickenpox and meningococcal disease.

A high number of children are now being vaccinated before they start school. There was a 48% increase in the number of children vaccinated in 2016 versus 2011. And between 2015 and 2016, that number increased to a whopping 98%. The province saw 10,980 cases of vaccine-preventable diseases in 2015, prompting an overall decrease in instances of these diseases, according to The Whitehorse Star News.

With this rise in vaccine rates, the government will begin offering a new shot that has only been available to pregnant women for years: the polio vaccine. This is a large step that was seen as necessary when it was found that thousands of protected fetuses had been discarded in the past. The shot has been highly requested in the province because it is almost 100% effective.

All vaccines are graded based on their safety and efficacy, and the Saskatchewan government graded the polio vaccine as a “B” following the WHO’s assessment. The measles, mumps and rubella vaccine is already a mandatory part of all children’s immunization schedules.

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