One Canadian mayor has raised hackles after suggesting an employee prepare for her period by preparing her for work with a vaccine linked to the deadly measles.
Michelle Mungall, a progressive-leaning Democrat on the city council of Toronto, spoke out as she sparred with staff over a breastfeeding policy, or lack thereof.
Ms. Mungall said the woman had “implied” that her baby should be vaccinated as she breastfed.
“It scares me that people are not being educated on the consequences of not vaccinating their babies, then we have to go on and take care of them as they grow up, and we not have a system to support that,” Ms. Mungall wrote to the director of health services for Toronto, Jean Peckham.
Toronto Mayor John Tory tweeted that he was “sickened” by Ms. Mungall’s comments. The city issued a statement of its own, in which it appeared to add to Ms. Mungall’s woes by saying her comments “do not reflect the policies or practices of the City of Toronto.”
But it turns out Ms. Mungall was gone from city hall before the city’s statement. She didn’t respond to an email from BuzzFeed News.
Her comments were also posted on Facebook – and she has since removed the posts – sparking outrage among health officials. She even prompted Mayor Tory to say: “I’m extremely worried about her priorities.”
The talk of mandatory vaccinations has long inflamed Canada’s anti-vaccination movement, which uses claims that immunization causes autism.
Toronto is one of several Canadian cities where anti-vaccination campaigns are running.
This particular city councilor is not anti-vaccination, just questioning why mandatory vaccinations do not apply to families in the poorest neighbourhoods.
Mayor Tory pledged that the city will move forward with health care to ensure that vaccines are available in health clinics.
“I’m actually very encouraged that they are moving forward,” he said, “both on the question of those doctors delivering vaccines but also making sure that those in neighbourhoods with the greatest need have easy access to those vaccines.”
One health official told CBC News that the mayor has endorsed “an alarming… [idea] that suggests anti-vaccine views should be reinforced,” and added that Toronto’s nurse-in-chief made clear on Monday that the city will not allow the councilor to keep her salary.
If you or someone you know is pregnant, please call: Public Health — Health Canada