Medical experts remind caregivers about the importance of child vaccines

Published Sept. 6, 2022 6:10 p.m. ET

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With more and more kids falling behind, medical experts are reminding parents about the importance of child vaccinations.

Be it COVID-19 or routine vaccinations, the child uptake rate is low and that has some concerned.

"This is the first time we're dealing with the COVID pandemic and a full-on flu season so our message is clear, to get vaccinated, caught up on our COVID vaccinations," said Dr. Rose Zacharias, president of the Ontario Medical Association.

"Every child six months and older (should) get a flu shot this season and also back-to-school, routine immunizations are behind in kids. So we do want families to make appointments with their family care providers to get caught up on those shots."

Nationwide, the OMA said kids ages 5-11 are only at 40 per cent vaccine uptake, compared to 82 per cent of the general population.

Earlier this week, that same age group of children became eligible for their first COVID-19 booster shot in Ontario.

"We are encouraging everyone to come in and get caught up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines," said Zacharias.

"This time of year, COVID and viruses of all types like to travel indoors and so as we gather in classrooms, indoor settings and the colder weather, it's more likely that we'll be passing viruses among us so getting caught up on our vaccines is key."

"Locally in our districts, we do have, unfortunately, a large number … of children that are overdue for their routine immunizations," said Public Health Sudbury and Districts Christina Ashawasegai.

Ashawasegai, who works with the schools, said it's due to several reasons, including having to pause their regularly scheduled programming because of the pandemic.

"Because of that, Public Health has been reviewing all the records of every eligible child within our districts," she said.

"We've been contacting them to let them know they're overdue. Please make an appointment, we're trying right now to meet people where they're at-- we have mobile clinics and we're offering clinics at our Paris Street location, but also other areas within the district to make sure we can reach everyone."

Routine immunizations include everything from tetanus, HPV and mumps.

"We ask you to consider all vaccines and make those decisions in consultation with your health care provider, Public Health and weigh your own personal situation," Ashawasegai said.

"Vaccines are safe and we ask that everyone who is eligible receives them in a timely manner. Vaccines are very important."

Those who don't get them risk getting the illness themselves and passing it on to those who are more vulnerable and immunocompromised.

More information on the vaccine clinics at Public Health Sudbury & Districts can be found on its website.

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