MAY 7, 2019 GREY BRUCE HEALTH UNIT MEDIA RELEASE —
Grey Bruce has high immunization coverage rates according to the Immunization Coverage Report for School Pupils in Ontario: 2017-18 School Year released May 7. High immunization rates are essential to prevent outbreaks of diseases such as measles and meningitis.
For 7 year olds, Grey Bruce has a measles immunization coverage rate of 94.5%, well above the provincial average of 87.6%. Grey Bruce 17 year olds have a pertussis (whooping cough) coverage rate of 83.2% vs. Ontario at 72.1%. Measles and pertussis along with mumps, rubella, tetanus, polio, diphtheria, meningitis, varicella (chickenpox) are required immunizations to attend school in Ontario.
The coverage rates for 12 year olds receiving school-based immunization programs are also above provincial averages with meningitis 92.2% (vs. Ontario 82.4%), Hepatitis B 74.8% (vs. Ontario 69.2%) and Human Papillomavirus 64.2% (vs. Ontario 59.9%).
“The Grey Bruce Health Unit and local doctors have worked diligently to ensure high immunization coverage rates in our region – and the numbers reflect this hard work.” says Grey Bruce Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Ian Arra. “While Grey Bruce isn’t immune to outbreaks, such as measles, the high immunization rates serve us well in protecting the majority of children in our community.”
The report identifies Grey Bruce having a non-medical exemption rate for 17 year olds of 3.8%, slightly higher than the Ontario rate of 2.5%. Non-medical exemptions are issued to parents who for religious or conscientious reasons, choose not to vaccinate their children.
“The exemption rate is of concern and we are looking at ways to increase parental confidence in the immunization system as a whole.” says Vaccine Preventable Diseases Program Manager, Sarah Ellis. “All parents want the best for their children. Parents with concerns about immunizations, should speak to their health care provider or a trusted health care professional.”
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