The B.C. government is launching a measles vaccination “catch-up” program for students across the province next month.

The program will run from April to June with vaccines being made widely available in schools, community health clinics and, in some regions, mobile units.

"Our goal is to immunize as many people as possible before the end of the school year,” B.C. health minister Adrian Dix said Wednesday. “The purpose, ultimately, is to reach an immunization rate of 95 per cent as recommended."

This program will be a bridge towards the second phase of the province’s measles immunization plan, which will require all students to provide proof of immunization beginning in September. 

"With outbreaks of measles occurring globally and here in B.C., we know we will see threats of further outbreaks and can be doing more to raise immunization rates," said Dix.

"That is why we are launching a catch-up program to immunize children from kindergarten to Grade 12 who have not previously been immunized against measles and to provide a dose for those who may not have received both doses."

To complete the program, health authorities are spending $3 million to acquire the equivalent of an extra year’s supply of the measles vaccine.

There were 19 confirmed cases of measles in B.C. last year.

The province has recommended two doeses of measles vaccine for children since 1996.