VICTORIA, B.C. – Nearly 16,000 children and youth across B.C. have received doses of the measles vaccine over a two-month period.

The numbers were based on a report about the province’s measles immunization catch-up program.

Launched in April, the catch-up program’s goal is to immunize children, from kindergarten to Grade 12, who have not previously been immunized against measles and those who may not have received both recommended doses.

On Vancouver Island, Island Health has administered nearly 9,000 doses of the MMR vaccine since the start of the year.

Medical officer Dr. Charmaine Enns noted that since the measles outbreak, vaccinations for the disease have doubled.

Families throughout the Sunshine Coast and across B.C. have also taken steps to keep their children safe from measles.

From April 1st to May 30th, 15,796 doses of measles-containing vaccines have been administered to students from kindergarten to Grade 12.

This is a preliminary total and will rise when all records are received by public health officials.

The province says that community pharmacists and primary care providers are also key partners in the catch-up program.

In May, based on records received so far, pharmacists administered 498 of the total doses of measles vaccines for school-aged children aged five to 19 years.

Health authorities have held 858 in-school clinics, as well as 2,388 public health clinics in communities throughout B.C.

Since the launch of the program, 566,106 students from kindergarten to Grade 12 have had their immunization records reviewed.

As well, parents and guardians of students who have missing or incomplete records have been notified.

And the province notes that efforts to raise measles immunizations are continuing, with 230 in-school clinics and more than 900 regularly scheduled public health clinics planned through the end of June.