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Ontario Expands Immunization Program

Archived Backgrounder

Ontario Expands Immunization Program

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

Ontario is further protecting the health of its population by enhancing its publicly funded immunization program, while saving families more money. Starting August 2011, the province is adding two new vaccines to its immunization schedule - one to protect against rotavirus and a combined measles-mumps-rubella-varicella (MMRV) vaccine.  Ontario is also expanding the availability of two other vaccines (varicella and pertussis).  

Rotavirus Vaccine

Rotavirus is a virus that causes severe diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration among infants and children in the world. In Canada, 36 per cent of children with rotavirus see a doctor, 15 per cent go to hospital ERs and seven per cent require hospitalization.

Ontario is the first jurisdiction in Canada to make the rotavirus vaccine publicly funded after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommended its use for infants in July 2010.

The vaccine will be given to infants. It comes in liquid form and will be administered by mouth.

Varicella Vaccine

Chicken pox is a highly contagious illness caused by primary infection with the varicella zoster virus. It usually starts with a skin rash mainly on the body and head and becomes itchy pockmarks - which mostly heal without scarring.

Children currently receive one dose of the varicella vaccine at 15 months. NACI recently recommended that two doses of the vaccine be provided for maximum protection.

Ontario will now provide two doses of the varicella vaccine:

  • The first dose to children aged 15 months; plus
  • The second dose via the MMRV (combined measles-mumps-rubella-varicella) vaccine at 4 to 6 years;  or
  • The second dose at 18 months (health care providers, in consultation with parents, may recommend that a child be vaccinated with MMR and varicella vaccines separately).

Pertussis Vaccine

Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious bacterial disease. Symptoms are initially mild, and then develop into severe coughing fits which produce the high-pitched "whoop" sound in children when they inhale air after coughing.

Most people get vaccinated against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap vaccine) in early childhood (at ages two, four, six and 18 months as well as 4 to 6 years old). A booster shot - which provides lifetime protection for pertussis - is offered when the child reaches 14-16 years, but its uptake rate is low. This has caused more cases of pertussis among adults who, in turn, spread the infection to infants and children. There have been recent outbreaks of pertussis in Ontario and other parts of North America.

Ontario is now offering an additional dose of Tdap vaccine on a one-time basis for adults, 19-64 years old, who did not receive their Tdap booster in their teen years. In particular, young adults, who may have young children, are being targeted.

Routine Vaccines Available in Ontario's Publicly Funded Immunization Program

Before 2003 - 9 Vaccines

 

Today - 14 Vaccines

DTaP - IPV

Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and polio

DTaP - IPV

Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and polio

DTaP - IPV - Hib

Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio and haemophilus influenzae type b

Rotavirus

Rotavirus

IPV (Polio)

Polio

DTaP - IPV - Hib

Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio and haemophilus influenzae type b

MMR

Measles, mumps and rubella

MMR

Measles, mumps and rubella

Hep B

Hepatitis B

Hep B

Hepatitis B

Tdap

Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis

Tdap

Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis

Td

Tetanus and diphtheria

Td

Tetanus and diphtheria

Pneumovax 23

Invasive pneumococcal disease

Pneumovax 23

Pneumovax 23

Influenza

Influenza

Influenza

Influenza

Men-C

Invasive meningococcal disease

Varicella

Chicken pox

Prevnar 13

Invasive pneumococcal disease

HPV

Human papillomavirus

Men-C-ACYW

Invasive meningococcal disease

Media Contacts

  • Media Line

    Toll-free: 1-888-414-4774

    media.moh@ontario.ca

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  • Mark Nesbitt

    Communications and Marketing Division-MOHLTC

    media.moh@ontario.ca

    416-314-6197

  • Shae Greenfield

    Minister's Office

    416-325-5230

  • For public inquiries call ServiceOntario, INFOline

    (Toll-free in Ontario only)

    ontario.ca/health-news

    1-866-532-3161

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