Edmonton, Alberta – The College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CARNA) is urging the general public as well as its 35,000 registered nurse and nurse practitioner members to get vaccinated for measles if their immunity is not current.
"We cannot afford to become complacent about serious diseases which have become rare in Canada due to successful immunization campaigns in the past" says CARNA president Shannon Spenceley. "As the current measles outbreak in Alberta shows, eradicating a communicable disease requires an on-going commitment to very high levels of immunization in the population and, if individuals are not vaccinated, there is potential risk to themselves, their families and their communities. Since health professionals come in contact with people who are at high risk of complications, they have an even greater responsibility to promote vaccination among the public and to keep their own immunity current."
Alberta Health Services is requiring all health-care workers, regardless of date of birth, who are not already immune to measles to be vaccinated. Health-care workers are considered to be immune if one of the following has been confirmed:
"There will always be some individuals who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, which makes it even more important for the rest of us to keep our immunizations current," says CARNA Chief Executive Officer Mary-Anne Robinson. "As citizens, we can then create an environment which lessens the risk of these vulnerable individuals being exposed to potentially life-threatening illnesses. For registered nurses and other health-care workers, there is an even greater expectation that they will act in the interests of public safety and be vaccinated if that is what is required."
CARNA is the professional and regulatory body for Alberta's more than 35,000 registered nurses, including nurses in direct care, education, research and administration as well as nurse practitioners. Its mandate is to protect the public by ensuring that Albertans receive effective, safe and ethical care by registered nurses.