Routine vaccines for kids slipped during the pandemic. Provinces try to catch up

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Up to date vaccination records are key to preventing outbreaks, says associate professor and researcher. Photo: Pexels


(Amina Zafar/ CBC News) — After routine childhood vaccinations fell during the pandemic, public health officials across the country are working to get Canadian students back up to date on immunizations for serious yet preventable diseases.

In southwestern Ontario’s Waterloo region alone, public health officials said they sent letters to the families of 32,000 elementary and secondary school students, about a third of pupils in the region’s public and Catholic schools, notifying them that they are at risk of suspension over incomplete immunization records for preventable diseases like measles, chickenpox and whooping cough.

When public health staff introduced COVID-19 testing and vaccinations during the pandemic in 2020, routine immunization programs for students across the country fell behind, according to a 2021 study. As well, 19 to Zero, a not-for-profit coalition of medical and public health experts that facilitates vaccination, conducted a national survey in fall 2021 that pointed to 300,000 children who missed or delayed routine immunizations.

When large numbers of kids are missing the protection vaccination provides, the outcome can be deadly, public health experts say. (…)

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