More than 90 per cent of Richmond’s kindergarten-aged children receive publicly funded immunizations against communicable diseases.

Richmond’s kinder kids are well protected

Richmond is known as one of the healthiest communities in Canada and it also has a reputation in another important area: Richmond has the highest kindergarten vaccine coverage rate in VCH and one of the highest in the province.

In total, more than 90 per cent of the community’s children receive publicly funded immunizations against communicable diseases. “It’s fantastic,” said Diane Bissenden, director of Population & Family Health in Richmond. “We want to have healthy children, we want to have healthy families, and we want to have healthy communities – immunization is a big part of that.”

“One of the most important public health strategies in the world is to have high immunization levels,” Bissenden added. “We want people–and the community as a whole–to be protected against preventable communicable diseases which, in turn, help to protect our vulnerable populations from serious illness.”

Beneficial community partnerships

Bissenden, who also oversees the school age immunization program in Richmond, credits this high vaccine coverage rate to the excellent partnership between public health, community physicians, the school district, and engaged and committed Richmond families.

Richmond residents who receive immunizations from VCH clinics and from Richmond family physicians can access the full immunization record for their children just by contacting Richmond Public Health. As well, Richmond physicians can access immunization histories for their patients through Care Connect or by calling Richmond Public Health. Bissenden said it was an easy decision to create and support processes to facilitate families’ access to this vital information.

“It’s important for families and care providers to have full access to their immunization records because we need to work together to ensure our children are protected against communicable diseases. That way we keep not only our children and families safe, but also our communities safe.”

A vaccination history

Immunization records are often required when a child enters daycare, preschool, kindergarten, and later on university. International travel occasionally requires immunization records for children.

“Supporting health and wellness through timely access to immunization services and immunization information for people who live, work, play and learn in Richmond is one of the most important responsibilities in my portfolio,” Bissenden added.

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