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OMA and Local Public Health Units Stress Importance of Childhood Vaccinations

boy receiving vaccine from nurse

Kingston, October 29, 2019 – The Ontario Medical Association, Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health (KFL&APH) and Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) underscored the importance of being immunized at an event this morning.

The World Health Organization calls vaccine hesitancy one of the top ten threats to health across the globe. World-wide, there is growing concern about the increasing number of parents who are unsure about the safety of childhood vaccinations.

“On behalf of Ontario’s 31,500 practicing doctors I want to say that vaccines work, vaccines are safe, vaccines are vital to the health and wellbeing of us all, and parents should not be swayed by any information they hear to the contrary,” says Dr. Sohail Gandhi, President, Ontario Medical Association.

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). Not so many years ago, 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, sometimes within hours of becoming infected. Measles spreads aggressively to people who are not vaccinated.

“Vaccination programs represent some of the most successful public health initiatives to protect the health of our communities. Despite that success, the threat from vaccine preventable diseases is serious and imminent,” says Dr. Ethan Toumishey, Public Health and Preventive Medicine Resident Queen’s University.

“Without adequate vaccine coverage, a community is at a greater risk of serious and preventable diseases,” says Dr. Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health and CEO at HPEPH. “As we are seeing a higher than average rate of non-medical exemptions from vaccination in our region, I encourage parents to consider the scientifically proven benefits of childhood vaccination.”

Parents want to make the best decisions for their children – but 63% of parents in Canada admit to looking for immunization information on the Internet, and half of these just do a random Google search. This is very concerning because many of the claims circulating about vaccination on websites and social networks is inaccurate or negative.

That’s why the OMA has launched a multi-channel public relations, social media, and advocacy campaign to target the spread of anti-vaccine myths using the hashtag #AskOntarioDoctors. For more information about the campaign or to listen to the podcast or view the fact sheet visit askontariodoctors.ca.

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For more information, please contact: OMA Media Relations at 416.340.2862 or toll-free at 1.800.268.7215, ext. 2862 
media@oma.org @OntariosDoctors

About the OMA

The Ontario Medical Association represents Ontario’s 43,000 plus 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 Hastings Prince Edward Public Health

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) is a public health agency that serves the counties of Hastings and Prince Edward from four local offices. We provide many programs and services to help improve the health and well-being of our residents. Together with our communities, we help people become as healthy as they can be. For more information, please visit hpePublicHealth.ca.

About Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health

KFL&A Public Health is a local public health agency with over 200 staff and 150 volunteers who deliver public health programs and services to the people of the KFL&A area. The underlying goal of its services and programs-from immunization, healthy weights, nutritious eating, food safety, raising healthy babies and children, sexual health, tobacco use reduction, and many other public health areas-is to promote and protect the health of the more than 190,000 residents of the Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington area. For more information, please visit kflaph.ca.

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COVID-19 VACCINES IN HPEPH

Appointments for individuals 5+ can be booked through the provincial vaccine booking site, or by calling 1-833-943-3900 from 8 am to 8 pm, 7 days a week.  

Due to limited supply, HPEPH will initially be prioritizing available bivalent vaccine for residents and workers at identified highest-risk facilities.  Some HPEPH vaccination clinics MAY offer the bivalent vaccine, as availability allows. Vaccine clinics in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties will continue to offer monovalent vaccines (the same mRNA vaccines given as the primary series) for all eligible individuals until a steady supply of the bivalent vaccine is available.

Visit the HPEPH vaccine booking web page for details.

COVID-19 PROTOCOLS

Symptoms or exposure? Visit www.ontario.ca/exposed for the most up to date information about what to do.

For the most up to date information on current provincial restrictions, visit https://covid-19.ontario.ca/public-health-measures.

The Ministry of Health has launched a new toll-free line as an additional resource to help answer questions from the public regarding evolving COVID-19 testing and isolation guidance. The line can be reached at 1-888-777-0730, and is available from 8 am to 6 pm, 7 days a week.