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News Release

New protection for families through vaccines

Aug 31, 2011
An expansion to the free vaccination program announced by the province in May is now rolling out to the public in Simcoe and Muskoka.

An expansion to the free vaccination program announced by the province in May is now rolling out to the public in Simcoe and Muskoka.

The changes to the childhood and adult immunization schedules will provide better protection for families against three infectious diseases that continue to occur in Ontario.

“We really welcome this expansion of the immunization program in Ontario,” said Dr. Lisa Simon, associate medical officer of health with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. “It provides more protection for families against some potentially serious illnesses.”

The vaccines included in this latest expansion include the following.

  • A vaccine for infants to protect them against rotavirus, a gastrointestinal infection that causes vomiting and diarrhea and was responsible for the hospitalization of more than 1,500 children in Ontario between 2006 and 2010. This new vaccine is available orally, rather than by needle.
  •  A second dose of varicella (chickenpox) vaccine for children 1 to 11 years old. Varicella has also been added to the routine measles-mumps-rubella vaccine for children 4 to 6 years old.  
  •  A booster vaccine against pertussis (whooping cough) is being made available to adults who didn’t get this vaccine in their teen years. Without immunization, adults can become sick themselves and pass the disease on to children who are much more vulnerable to serious side effects.

Like all such vaccines, the public should obtain them from their family health care provider. Health unit immunization clinics are also available.

Dr. Simon pointed out that the expansion of the vaccine program means there are some changes to the existing childhood immunization schedule. During the phase-in period, parents whose children have gone partway through the schedule should check with their health care providers to see which next steps are recommended.

Parents can also call Your Health Connection at the health unit for further details, at 705-721-7520, or 1-877-721-7520 weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The new vaccines and the changes to the immunization schedule are also detailed on the health unit’s website at www.simcoemuskokahealth.org.

 


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