Santé et Services sociaux Québec

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Vaccination against Measles

Who should be vaccinated?

The number of people currently vaccinated is not sufficient to prevent the spread of measles. We cannot rely on the vaccination of others to avoid catching this disease ourselves.

In Québec at least one child in ten is at risk of catching measles and passing it on to others, be it to:

  • non-vaccinated children
  • babies too young to be vaccinated
  • pregnant women, or people with cancer who have undergone an organ transplant and cannot be vaccinated.

Who does the vaccination target?

Vaccination is free for all who have not received the required number of vaccine doses or who have no proof of vaccination or disease (vaccination record or other proof).

Vaccination and schools

Once their children begin kindergarten or school, parents must provide proof of vaccination against measles. This enables school officials to determine which children are protected against measles in the event of an outbreak. Furthermore, each year the vaccination records of all Grade 4 and Secondary 3 students are reviewed. All Québec regions offer free vaccination against measles to unprotected children. Simply call your CSSS or doctor to book an appointment.

Valid proof of vaccination

Types of valid proof of vaccination include 

  • an individual’s vaccination record or a photocopy thereof
  • a doctor or nurse’s note listing the names of the vaccines administered as well as the precise vaccination dates (day, month, year)
  • a doctor’s note stating that an individual has had measles along with the date of diagnosis
  • a doctor’s note attesting that a person has had measles and which includes a copy of the laboratory results

Number of Doses Needed for Adequate Protection Against Measles

Number of doses needed for adequate protection against measles
Year of birth Number of doses
Before 1970 Population already protected*. No dose required.
Between 1970 and 1979 One dose at the first birthday or afterward.†
Since 1980 Two doses, the first at the first birthday or afterward. A normal vaccination schedule calls for a first vaccine dose against measles, rubella, and mumps at 12 months and a second dose at 18 months. In some cases, the doses can be given at other times.

*Anyone who had measles before January 1, 1996, and who can present a medical record to that effect is considered protected. After that date you must have serological evidence of immunity to measles (the presence of antibodies).
† Two doses are required for healthcare workers, military recruits, and travelers.

Measles in the classroom: What to do

Should a school report a case of measles, and depending on how the illness evolves, non-vaccinated individuals may be asked to stay home until the outbreak has ended. During an outbreak, such individuals may return to school upon providing valid proof of vaccination. This measure is intended to protect the health of unprotected individuals and their communities.

For more information