Health Unit issues warning about immunization

The recent reports of a potential measles exposure at Pearson Airport and cases of mumps in Collingwood are a reminder about the importance of having up-to-date immunization.

Measles is one of the most contagious of the vaccine preventable diseases. Children generally receive their first Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) vaccine at 1-year and a second Measles, Mumps, Rubella & Varicella (MMRV) at 4 – 6 years. Public Health recommends that parents of children who have not had a second vaccine arrange to have their child vaccinated as soon as possible after their child turns 4 years old.

Many adults will have received only one dose of measles vaccine. Adults are eligible for a second vaccine if they are health care providers, are post-secondary students or plan to travel to areas where disease is a concern. A second dose can also be given based on the clinical judgement of their health care provider.

In Grey Bruce, Public Health maintains immunization records for all children attending school. Under the Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA), students may face suspension if immunizations against select designated diseases are not received by a certain date or if documentation of exemption or objection is not provided. Of note, the proportion of Grey Bruce students with exemptions due to religious or conscientious objection is quite low- at less than 2%. Un-immunized and under-immunized students can be excluded from school if there is an outbreak or an immediate risk of an outbreak for any of the ISPA-designated diseases.

“Local health care providers are diligent about vaccines.” says Sarah Ellis, Manager of the Vaccine Preventable Diseases Program for the Grey Bruce Health Unit, giving credit to local health care providers for excellent coverage rates “They recognize the protection vaccines offer. If we all continue to strive for high vaccine coverage rates we can make sure that everyone is offered the best protection from vaccine preventable diseases”.