04/19/2017 18:02 EDT | Updated 04/19/2017 18:20 EDT

Alberta health minister addresses issue of mandatory immunization

EDMONTON — Health Minister Sarah Hoffman is applauding the Edmonton Catholic School board for  unanimously agreeing on a motion to make vaccinations mandatory in Alberta schools.

However, she does say there have to be some exceptions to the rule.

Hoffman says some children physically can’t have vaccinations for a variety of medical reasons.

But she says vaccinations are crucial in dealing with things such as the recent outbreak of mumps in the province.

At least 30 cases of the disease have been diagnosed this year already.

That’s up from eight cases in all of 2016.

“We want to use education and an opportunity to inform parents," says Hoffman. "Sometimes parents aren’t even aware that their vaccinations are outdated. Parents are busy, they have a lot going on, and that’s one of the reasons why we’re involving Public Health.”

Hoffman says there needs to be a streamlined process when an outbreak happens.

“Right now when there is an outbreak we have to find out what kids are in the school, and who’s had their had their immunizations and who hasn’t," she says. "By having that information up front at the start of the year, if there is an outbreak (Public Health) would be able to inform the families that they need to keep their children at home."

In Ontario and New Brunswick, students are required to be immunized for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps and rubella. However, there are some exemptions.