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DOSE OF PROTECTION

- School-Based Immunizations Starting Soon for Grade 7 and 8 Students; Boys Now Eligible for HPV Vaccine Too -

With school back in session, homework won’t be the only reason for area students to roll up their sleeves this fall.

School-based vaccinations will soon start for Grades 7 and 8 students in Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes. This month, the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit will be sending vaccine information and consent forms home with students who are eligible to be immunized against three diseases – HPV, Hepatitis B and Meningitis. All three vaccines are publicly-funded and part of Ontario’s recommended immunization schedule.

Parents and caregivers are encouraged to review the vaccine information and consider the benefits of having their children protected against vaccine-preventable diseases. If they have further questions, people can call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577 and speak to a Vaccine-Preventable Disease Nurse. They can also visit the School-Based Immunization Program webpage.

“Vaccines are free, safe and effective, so give your children the protection they deserve by getting them immunized,” says Marianne Rock, Manager of Communicable Disease Control, Epidemiology and Evaluation with the HKPR District Health Unit. “Vaccination is also convenient for busy families, as Health Unit nurses provide the three vaccines right in your child’s school.”

This fall, the biggest change will involve the HPV vaccine. Previously only available to female students in Grade 8, the HPV vaccine will now be available to all Grade 7 students as well – including boys. “HPV vaccine helps to protect against cancer, and medical experts have long been saying both girls and boys will benefit from it,” Rock says. “Now with this change, we can provide equal access for both genders to a very effective HPV vaccine.”

In addition to the HPV vaccine, the other vaccines being provided by the Health Unit include:

• The Meningitis vaccine (Menactra) which helps to protect against Meningococcal disease, a bacteria spread from person-to-person through close contact with secretions from the nose or throat. The bacteria can cause serious illness such as meningitis (swelling of the tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord) and meningococcemia (an infection of the blood and organs). Rock notes that this vaccine is one that students must have in order to attend school. Otherwise, they could be suspended unless they provide a valid exemption.

• The Hepatitis B vaccine which protects against a virus that can cause permanent damage to the liver. Hep B is spread by blood and bodily fluids.

Students may also be exempted from vaccination for medical reasons, or by giving a sworn affidavit that immunization is against their conscience or religious belief. People are asked to contact the Health Unit for more details.

 

For media inquiries, contact:

Marianne Rock, Manager, Communicable Disease Control, Epidemiology and Evaluation, HKPR District Health Unit, (905) 885-9100, or toll-free 1-866-888-4577, ext. 1486.

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