Canada expands definition of ‘vaccination requirement’ on traveling vaccine exemptions

Canada has expanded the list of vaccine-preventable diseases that can be bought for children travelling abroad.

The change will affect children ages 13 to 18, and patients going to countries in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas.

In a press release, Dr. Mark Schuster, vice-president, clinical and regulatory affairs at Health Canada, said the existing exclusion for travelers to countries in the Caribbean was “an insufficient priority” for Canada.

“We are continuing to work on ensuring that Canadian travellers traveling abroad are also protected against their measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) and rubella (German measles) vaccine-preventable diseases.”

Travelers diagnosed with non-required vaccines are considered unvaccinated by Health Canada unless the travel manifest specifically states that a child was not vaccinated.

Unused vaccines expire after three years and can be sold until they are thrown away.

Health Canada’s “Adherence to vaccine requirements website” lists the excluded vaccines by age and country.

The only diseases to be added are non-recommended doses of measles, mumps and rubella vaccines that Health Canada states are no longer required. The website does not state what those ages are.

Non-recommended shots or doses in the countries on the added list are those that require two doses or separate childhood doses, which are routinely given to children and cannot be purchased when a vacation is taken.

Before travelling, consumers should consult their doctors or other health care providers about the vaccination requirements in the country that is going to be visited.

Not all governments and travel organisations issue instructions on where and when they want vaccinations required.

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