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News Release

High school immunization clinics offer students mandatory Menactra and Tdap vaccines

WHITBY, ON February 18, 2015

Effective July 1, 2014, the province of Ontario updated the immunization requirements to attend school under the Immunization of Schools Pupils Act (ISPA), requiring all students born on or after Jan. 1, 1997 to be vaccinated against meningococcal disease. Furthermore, as part of the Ontario Immunization Schedule, all children in Ontario are required by law to be vaccinated against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis.

To assist students in meeting provincial vaccination requirements, Durham Region Health Department is currently working with area high schools to provide free Menactra and Tdap vaccines to eligible students in Grades 9 to 12 at school clinics during February and March. Clinic schedules can be found at durham.ca/immunize. High school students who are unable to attend school clinics can also receive the vaccines from their healthcare provider.

Meningococcal conjugate-ACYW-135 vaccine, commonly known as Menactra, protects against meningococcal disease; this vaccine has been offered at Grade 7 school clinics since 2009. The Tdap vaccines (Adacel/Boostrix) provide protection against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, and are typically given to adolescents 14 to 16 years old in a single injection.

Meningococcal infections can cause serious diseases, including meningitis. Meningitis is an acute infection that occurs in people who have either come in contact with an otherwise healthy person who is a “carrier”, or come into contact with another person who is sick with the disease. Meningococcal disease can also cause blood poisoning, and infections of the brain and spinal cord.

Tetanus, also known as lockjaw, is a serious sometimes fatal disease of the nervous system that is spread by bacteria that enters the skin after an injury involving a cut or puncture. Diphtheria bacteria can cause heart, breathing and kidney problems. Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, involves a cough that worsens over one to two weeks until there are episodes of violent coughing, followed by vomiting and periods of apnea (breathing stops). Whooping cough is very contagious and is spread easily from person to person through the air.  Previously immunized adolescents are at risk for pertussis due to immunity that decreases over time.

“The most effective way to prevent these diseases is by being vaccinated,” said Dr. Robert Kyle, Durham Region Medical Officer of Health. “Antibodies that fight-off disease are a natural response in your body triggered by vaccine.”

For more information about immunizations, please contact the Durham Health Connection Line at 905-666-6241 or 1-800-841-2729.

Media inquiries:

The Regional Municipality of Durham:

Glendene Collins – Health Department, 905-668-7711 ext. 2999

If this information is required in an accessible format, please contact the Accessibility Co-ordinator at 1-800-372-1102 extension 2009.

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For more information, please contact Health Department.