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Board Meeting Notes October 18, 2017

Oct 25, 2017
HPV vaccine recommended for high school boys; Cannabis rules begin to reflect public health recommendations; Campaign highlights the social determinants of health

HPV vaccine recommended for high school boys

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the few cancer-causing agents that can be prevented by a vaccine. Girls have been offered this vaccine since 2005, in Grade 7 and in 2012 were offered the duration of their high schools years to complete the vaccine series for free. Since September 2016, HPV vaccine has been offered in Grade 7 to both boys and girls. Boys already in high school don’t qualify for the vaccine, and the Simcoe Muskoka Board of Health supports offering high school boys the same protection as girls. A request to the Minister of Health had been submitted by the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Health Unit, and the Simcoe Muskoka Board of Health will be echoing that call with a similar letter. HPV is a sexually transmitted virus known to cause several kinds of cancer. The vaccine is offered before people become sexually active. Rebecca Dupuis, the manager of the vaccine preventable disease program at the health unit, said to date about 65 per cent of teenaged girls that have been eligible have received the vaccine, higher than the provincial average of 62 per cent.

Cannabis rules begin to reflect public health recommendations

As the date for legalization of cannabis products draws nearer, provincial regulations are beginning to reflect some of the recommendations from public health organizations. The Simcoe Muskoka Board of Health reviewed efforts to reduce the risks of harm from the legalization of cannabis. The local health unit encouraged a number of actions in correspondence with Ontario’s Attorney General in June this year, including setting a minimum age of 21 for purchase and consumption, and government control of sales. Similar calls for controls have come from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Canadian Public Health Association and the Association of Local Public Health Agencies. However, the minimum age has been set at 19 in Ontario; the province has also opted for a sales system like the liquor control board.

Campaign highlights the social determinants of health

Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is launching a multimedia campaign to raise awareness of the social determinants of health, such as income, housing, employment and social connections, and their impact on people’s health. The campaign, consisting of social media, radio, video displays and a website presence, was outlined to the board of health this month. It is intended to shift societal attitudes, perceptions and beliefs about the conditions that contribute to health inequities for people living with low income. In spring next year the campaign will raise these issues during provincial and municipal elections. About 12 per cent of people in Simcoe Muskoka are living in low income. They can face greater challenges from substandard housing and homelessness, low paying jobs, and fewer social connections, which can contribute to multiple chronic conditions that reduce life expectancy and well-being.

Next Meeting

The next meeting of the board of health takes place Nov. 15 at 9:15 a.m.
in the Barrie office, 15 Sperling Drive.


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