As Alberta Health Services issues a public alert for a local case of measles, a petition is already in the works to fight for mandatory vaccinations.

The petition was started by a handful of Fort Saskatchewan residents and the group is petitioning for mandatory vaccinations (with medical exemptions) for children under 16 years old and for anyone 16 years and older to have the right to consent to being immunized.

“We read about other jurisdictions and realized that educating people about vaccines just wasn’t enough to achieve the percentage of people needed for herd immunity,” said petition creator Kath Stevenson. ” It needs to be mandated for the protection of those individuals who can’t be immunized and for those who the vaccine didn’t work.”

Their goal is to eradicate vaccine preventable diseases in Alberta.

“We will leave the decision as to what vaccinations will mandatory to the experts. We have seen where some jurisdictions have mandatory and recommended vaccines. Several people have said they are pro vaccination but are hesitant to make it mandatory,” explained Stevenson. “However, that’s what’s landed us in the current situation. Measles is extremely contagious and we have seen that with it coming to Vancouver and now spreading to Edmonton.”

Stevenson was born before the measles vaccine was available and was quite sick as a young child. Her sister also had complications from mumps.

“We have become complacent as the years have gone by and forgotten the ravages of diseases like polio, small pox, measles etc. The reality of dealing with these serious illnesses has finally arrived close to home,” she said. “I’m sure we will see a spike in inoculations now that parents realize what happens when we don’t have herd immunity.”

Fort Saskatchewan mother Candice Kalyn’s four year old daughter, Cecily, was born with a heart condition requiring the infant to have a heart transplant.

“Cecily fought during her first 77 days of life to live and we do everything we can to keep her safe and healthy. The threat of preventable diseases compromises everything she’s fought so hard for,” said Kalyn.

Cecily is medically immune suppressed, so her body does not reject her heart transplant.

Kayln spoke out in a previous ThreeSixty video about the importance of getting vaccinated.

“It feels like my family is stuck on the tracks of a speeding locomotive and we can’t do anything to save Cecily. There are bystanders that can help, but choose not too,” added Kayln.

To view or sign the petition please click here.