April 25, 2016

Health Officials Encourage Residents to Keep Vaccinations Up to Date

National Immunization Awareness Week is April 23 - 30

Health officials are reminding residents of the important role vaccines play in keeping them healthy and preventing the spread of diseases.

“Vaccines help protect you and those around you against many serious infectious diseases,” Saskatchewan’s Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said.  “Being up-to-date on immunizations is important for people of all ages, especially for children, who are particularly vulnerable to complications from such diseases.”

Saskatchewan offers publicly-funded routine childhood immunizations for tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, haemophilus influenza type b, rotavirus, measles, mumps, rubella, varicella (chickenpox), meningitis and streptococcal bacterial diseases.  Human papillomavirus vaccine is offered to girls in Grade six.

Saskatchewan was the first province to provide publicly-funded vaccinations for hepatitis A for all children born on reserve, and among the first to introduce a whooping cough booster for adults in 2011.  Since 2010, the province has been offering flu shots free of charge to Saskatchewan residents six months and older.

“The recent increase in whooping cough cases and measles outbreaks in Canada and around the world underscore the importance of being immunized against vaccine-preventable diseases,” Dr. Shahab said.  “Vaccination protects the person being immunized and those around them who cannot be vaccinated because they are too young or have certain medical conditions, so make sure you and your family are up-to-date on vaccinations.”

In 2015, Saskatchewan introduced the first two modules of a new, electronic integrated public health information system called Panorama.  The immunizations module is a record of all immunizations administered in the province in a single database, creates a single client record for a person no matter where they receive immunizations in the province, and helps remind individuals and families when they are due for an immunization.

The vaccine inventory module tracks vaccine use and availability, ensures supplies are ordered in a timely manner and allows the province to move vaccines quickly to areas of need.

For details on provincial immunization programs, schedules and vaccine information, visit www.saskatchewan.ca/immunize or call HealthLine 811.

Contact your public health office at www.saskatchewan.ca/residents/health/understanding-the-health-care-system/saskatchewan-health-regions/regional-public-health-offices if you want to make an appointment for an immunization or obtain your immunization records.  To help keep your immunization records safe and organized, you can use the free app ImmunizeCA at www.immunize.ca/en/app.aspx.