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Ontario's Immunization Program Getting A Boost

Archived News Release

Ontario's Immunization Program Getting A Boost

McGuinty Government Protecting More Kids While Saving Families Money

Ministry of Health

Ontario's babies and children will soon have better protection from serious infectious diseases, while more money stays in the family pocketbook.

Starting August 2011, the province will offer two new vaccines as part of its immunization program, and expand the availability of two others. These include:

  • A new oral rotavirus vaccine to protect infants against rotavirus, which causes severe diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration
  • A combined Measles-Mumps-Rubella-Varicella (MMRV) vaccine that will reduce the number of immunizations a child needs. Varicella is currently given as a stand-alone vaccine
  • A second childhood dose of varicella vaccine to enhance protection against chicken pox
  • A lifetime dose of pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine to adults age 19-64, who often pass this highly-contagious disease to infants and children.

Approximately 140,000 infants annually will benefit from the rotavirus vaccine and many other children and adults will benefit from the expanded vaccine programs.

Ontario families will save up to $350 per person as a result of today's announcement. Since 2003, five new vaccines are now publicly funded thanks to the government's enhancements to the vaccine program -- which means Ontario families will now save a total of more than $1400 per child.

Today's announcement is part of the government's Open Ontario Plan to provide better access to health care services while improving quality and accountability for patients.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario is the first jurisdiction in Canada to publicly fund the rotavirus vaccine.
  • About 36 per cent of Canadian children with rotavirus infection see a doctor, and 15 per cent end up in the emergency room.
  • These vaccines will be available in August 2011 from local health care providers such as family doctors, nurse practitioners and public health units.
  • Ontario offers 14 different vaccines through its publicly-funded immunization program, protecting against 17 preventable diseases.
  • Immunization programs have made a tremendous impact on the health of children. Just 100 years ago, infectious diseases were the leading causes of death worldwide - they now cause less than five per cent of all deaths in Canada. Fewer cases of preventable illness also mean less pressure on Ontario's health care system.

Background Information

Additional Resources


“It's our priority to ensure Ontario's children continue to have the best possible start in life. Today's announcement not only prevents serious childhood illnesses, but it also puts more money in the pocketbooks of Ontario's families.”

Deb Matthews

Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

“Immunization is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself and your family. We are expanding our publicly funded immunization program to reduce the incidence of rotavirus, chicken pox and whooping cough infections in Ontario.”

Dr. Arlene King

Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health

“We're delighted the government is expanding its vaccine program. Nurses know prevention is key to protecting children from infectious diseases. Adding these crucial vaccines to our publicly funded health care system is the right move so all families can benefit from prevention programs.”

David McNeil

President, Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Media Contacts



Government Health and Wellness