Ontario Launches Free Vaccines Program
McGuinty Government Helping Ontarians Stay Healthy
Starting next week, Ontario families will benefit from new free vaccines that will help keep our kids healthy and save parents money.
Premier Dalton McGuinty was at The Hospital for Sick Children where he spoke about two new free vaccines for infants and the expanded availability of two others.
Improvements to the province's immunization program include:
- A new oral vaccine to protect infants against rotavirus, which causes severe intestinal infections.
- A second childhood dose of varicella vaccine to enhance protection against chickenpox.
- A new combined measles-mumps-rubella-varicella (MMRV) vaccine means children will get only one needle rather than two.
- A lifetime dose of pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine for adults age 19 to 64, who often pass this highly-contagious disease to infants and children.
The new vaccines will provide better protection from serious infectious diseases and save Ontario families up to $350 per person. Since 2003, five new vaccines are now free -- saving families more than $1,400 per child.
As part of the National Immunization Strategy, the federal government committed funding to support new vaccine programs in Ontario including varicella, meningococcal and pneumococcal vaccines. Federal funding for these programs was cancelled in 2006. Since then, Ontario has stepped up to cover the costs of these vaccines to ensure kids and families are protected.
Expanding Ontario's vaccines program is part of the government's plan to provide better access to health care services while improving quality for patients.
- Two new vaccines begin rolling out August 1st and will be available province-wide by August 8th.
- Local health care providers such as family doctors, nurse practitioners and public health nurses will provide the vaccines.
- Approximately 140,000 infants will benefit annually from the rotavirus vaccine and many other children and adults will benefit from wider access to the other vaccines.
- The province's immunization program offers 14 different vaccines, protecting against 17 preventable diseases.
“We're focusing on prevention to give children the best possible start and keep them healthy. The improvements we've made will mean better protection and peace of mind for Ontario families, but there is no doubt we could do even more with support from the federal government.”
“Our government is responding to the growing health care needs of families. With one of the most comprehensive immunization programs in Canada, we're ensuring our children get a healthy start while helping save families money.”