The Regional Municipality of Durham

News Release

Residents encouraged to update routine vaccines during National Immunization Awareness Week

WHITBY, ON April 23, 2014 - National Immunization Awareness Week (NIAW) is April 26 to May 3, and Durham Region Health Department is reminding residents of the importance of getting routine vaccines.

Residents are encouraged to check with their health care provider to ensure their immunizations are up-to-date, while parents are reminded to report their child’s immunizations to the Health Department. Residents can keep track of their family’s immunizations easier by using a new free immunization app from Immunize Canada. This app is personalized to the individual and provides vaccine information and recommendations for people of all ages, as well as travellers, and provides information on appointment reminders and local outbreak alerts. A link to the ImmunizeCA app and other immunization information is available at

“Ontario’s immunization schedule provides children with the best protection when they need it most,” said Stephen Rew, a public health nurse with the Health Department. All children attending school between the ages of four and 17 need to be immunized according to Ontario’s immunization schedule. Immunization protects children from many serious diseases that are easily spread in schools. Starting in the 2014-15 school year, children need to have proof of immunization against meningococcal disease, whooping cough and chickenpox to attend school; this is in addition to existing requirements for proof of immunization against many other diseases. For more information on the new requirements visit

“Vaccine preventable diseases spread easily,” added Mr. Rew. “In the past few years there have been cases of measles, mumps, meningitis and pertussis in Durham Region and throughout Canada, often where vaccination rates are low. By keeping immunizations up-to-date, residents can protect themselves and help decrease the spread of these diseases.”

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, vaccines are among the safest tools of modern medicine, with serious side effects occurring in less than one in one million vaccine doses given. However, the dangers of getting vaccine preventable diseases may include life-threatening problems such as brain damage, blindness, paralysis and even death.

To help parents keep their child’s vaccines up-to-date, the Health Department offers catch-up clinics for those who are eligible, including children without a health card, for publicly-funded vaccines. These clinics are by-appointment only. To book an appointment, update your child’s immunization record, or for more information on immunization, call Durham Health Connection Line at 906-666-6242 or 1-800-841-2729.


Media inquiries:
Glendene Collins - Health Department 905-668-7711, ext. 2999