Community NewsToronto

City of Toronto Urges Residents to Catch Up on Vaccines During National Immunization Awareness Week

In a bid to promote public health and raise awareness about the importance of immunization, Mayor Olivia Chow has officially declared National Immunization Awareness Week in Toronto. Running concurrently with the World Health Organization’s World Immunization Week, the initiative aims to underscore the significance of staying up to date on recommended vaccinations from infancy to adulthood.

Toronto Public Health (TPH) is spearheading the campaign, encouraging residents to catch up on all routine and lifesaving immunizations for which they are eligible. TPH Director, Dr. Lisa Richards, emphasized the critical role vaccines play in safeguarding individuals and communities against preventable diseases.

As part of the efforts, TPH is facilitating catch-up programs for routine immunizations in school-aged children. Students in grades seven to 12 who have not received vaccines for human papillomavirus (HPV), meningococcal, and hepatitis B (Hep B) can access them through the School Immunization Program (SIP). Additionally, children aged four to 17 can catch up on routine childhood vaccines under Ontario’s Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA).

Parents and guardians are urged to submit vaccination records or valid exemptions for diseases covered under ISPA, including diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, meningococcal disease, pertussis (whooping cough), and varicella (chickenpox). TPH continues to work closely with families to ensure students are up to date on their vaccinations.

To further enhance accessibility, vaccines under SIP and ISPA are provided free of charge for school-aged children, with no requirement for an OHIP card. Appointments can be booked through the City’s TPH Appointment Booking System webpage.

Dr. Richards also highlighted the importance of specific vaccines, such as those for mpox and measles. Due to a rise in mpox cases, TPH is encouraging eligible residents to get vaccinated, with free vaccines available at select clinics. Similarly, the measles vaccine is being promoted for school-aged children and adults who may be at risk of infection.

In closing, Mayor Chow expressed gratitude to Toronto residents for their continued efforts in prioritizing public health and urged those who may be behind on vaccinations to take advantage of the resources and programs available during National Immunization Awareness Week.

Commentary:

National Immunization Awareness Week serves as a vital reminder of the collective responsibility we hold in protecting our communities against preventable diseases. With the support of Toronto Public Health and other stakeholders, initiatives like the School Immunization Program and the Immunization of School Pupils Act play a crucial role in ensuring that individuals of all ages have access to lifesaving vaccines.

As we navigate the complexities of public health, it’s imperative that we remain vigilant in promoting vaccination as a cornerstone of disease prevention. By staying informed, accessing available resources, and prioritizing immunization, we can collectively work towards a healthier and safer future for all residents of the Greater Toronto Area.

Kelly

Kelly Deschamps is the dedicated City Hall Reporter, bringing forth the pulse of municipal affairs with precision and clarity. With an astute eye for detail and a passion for uncovering the stories that shape urban life, Deschamps delivers comprehensive coverage of local governance. For inquiries or feedback, contact Kelly at kelly.deschamps@gtaweekly.ca

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