Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit Barrie Office
print header


All news inquiries can be directed to a central email [email protected]

The central phone line is 705-721-7520 ext. 8533

OMA and Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit Stree Importance of Childhood Vaccinations

Nov 12, 2019
BARRIE –The Ontario Medical Association and the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit are underscoring the importance of being immunized.

BARRIE –The Ontario Medical Association and the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit are underscoring the importance of being immunized.

Keeping children up to date with their immunizations is an important way to keep them and the whole community healthy.

“On behalf of Ontario’s 31,500 practicing doctors I want to say that vaccines work, vaccines are very safe, vaccines are vital to the health and well being of us all and parents should not be swayed by the misinformation they find online,” says Dr. Sohail Gandhi, President, Ontario Medical Association.

With more than 50 staff members, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s immunization team plays a fundamental role in the agency’s mandate to protect the health of the people of the region.

Vaccination is one of the most successful public health interventions in history. It has led to the elimination and control of dangerous and infectious diseases such as smallpox, polio, diphtheria, measles, and pertussis (whooping cough). It was not long ago that these diseases caused many Canadian children to become severely ill or die.

>Measles, for example, can cause pneumonia, encephalopathy (brain inflammation), and serious problems even years after the initial infection. Children are more vulnerable and can become very sick very quickly. When a large percentage of the community is vaccinated—about 95 per cent for measles—the disease cannot spread easily, protecting everyone.

“In Simcoe Muskoka, the coverage rates in 2018-2019 for the nine vaccines required under the Immunization of School Pupils Act range from 91.5 per cent to 94.8 per cent,” said Dr. Gardner. “While these rates compare favourably with the rest of the province, we still seek to improve on them. We are concerned that some people are becoming hesitant about immunization because of misinformation being spread. Vaccines are safe and effective, and by being immunized, you protect your family, friends and people you work with.”

Parents want to make the best decisions for their children. Sixty-three per cent of parents in Canada look for immunization information on the Internet and half of these do a simple Google search. This is very concerning because much of the information circulating about vaccination on websites and social networks is unreliable, inaccurate and may discourage parents from getting their children vaccinated.

For these reasons, the OMA has launched a multi-channel public relations, social media and advocacy campaign to target the spread of anti-vaccine myths using #AskOntarioDoctors.

For more information about the campaign, to listen to the podcast or get the factsheet, visit


20191112mayor lehman flu shot

Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman, left, receives his flu shot from Ontario Medical Association president Dr. Sohail Gandhi. The two met briefly on Monday to get acquainted and discuss the importance of immunization in the community. Photo courtesy Ontario Medical Association.

About the OMA

The Ontario Medical Association represents Ontario’s 43,000 plus physicians, medical students and retired physicians, advocating for and supporting doctors while strengthening the leadership role of doctors in caring for patients. Our vision is to be the trusted voice in transforming Ontario’s health-care system.

About Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit

Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is a public health unit providing programs and services that prevent disease and injury, and promote and protect health for more than 540,000 residents in the County of Simcoe, District of Muskoka and the cities of Orillia and Barrie.

For more information, please contact:

OMA Media Relations at 416.340.2862 or
toll-free at 1.800.268.7215, extension 2862 
[email protected] @OntariosDoctors


John Challis, Kathy Dermott, Media Coordinators
Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit
705-721-7520, 1-877-721-7520 ext. 8533
[email protected]

Did you find what you were looking for today?
What did you like about this page?
How can we improve this page?

If you have any questions or concerns that require a response, please contact Health Connection directly.

Thanks for your feedback.
Failed to submit comment. Please try submitting again or contact us at the Health Unit.
Comment already submitted ...