Ontario Students To Benefit From New Vaccine

    McGuinty Government Adds Meningococcal Vaccine To Voluntary School
    Immunization Program

    TORONTO, June 1 /CNW/ -


    Starting in September, parents will be able to choose to vaccinate their
children against four strains of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD).
    The Ontario government will be supplying the vaccine, Menactra, to public
health units to use in the voluntary school-based immunization program for
Grade 7 students.
    In the school-based program, Menactra, which provides protection against
four strains of IMD (A, C, W-135 and Y), replaces the current vaccine which
guards against only the C strain. One-year old children, who are also
immunized against IMD, will continue to receive the previous vaccine. Menactra
is approved for use in Canada in children two years of age and older.
    IMD is most common in young children and youth and can make them
extremely ill very quickly. The disease can lead to serious infections of the
blood, the lining of the brain and the spinal cord. Among those who survive
the illness, it can cause permanent disability including deafness,
neurological damage, and loss of limbs.


    "The addition of this new vaccine enhances our publicly funded
immunization program which is already one of the largest in North America and
contributes significantly to the health of Ontarians."
    - David Caplan, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

    "This new vaccine will ensure that children in the province receive the
best possible protection against this deadly disease."
    - Dr. David Williams, Ontario's Acting Chief Medical Officer of Health

    "Ontario's schools will be working with public health units throughout
the province to ensure Grade 7 students start receiving this new vaccine as
soon as possible."
    - Kathleen Wynne, Minister of Education


    -   IMD is a rare but serious disease caused by a specific strain of
        bacteria, neisseria meningitidis. Up to 10 per cent of the population
        carry the bacteria; however, most people never develop an active form
        of the disease.

    -   From 1997 to 2007, an average of 67 cases of IMD was reported in
        Ontario each year.

    -   IMD is fatal in 8-15 per cent of cases.

    -   Menactra has been available in Ontario since 2007 to people with high
        risk medical conditions and for close contacts of a case of IMD.


    Read more about Ontario's immunization program

    Find out more about meningococcal disease
                                                      Disponible en français

For further information:

For further information: Steve Erwin, Minister's Office, (416) 326-3986;
Andrew Morrison, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, (416) 314-6197

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