Province encourages all Islanders to get vaccinated

Universally free flu shots and enhanced immunization programs for adults are two efforts aimed at urging all Islanders to get vaccinated against infectious diseases.

Beginning this fall, Prince Edward Island will begin two initiatives to enhance the uptake of vaccination programs: a universal influenza immunization program and a program focused on getting more adults immunized. Vaccination is one of the most important advances in public health and over the past 50 years has eliminated, contained, and controlled diseases that were once very common in Canada.

“Vaccinating our children is one of the most important things we can do to help protect them from serious diseases, but immunization goes beyond childhood,” Health and Wellness Minister Robert Henderson said. “In Prince Edward Island we are dedicated to improving vaccination rates and further protecting all Islanders at every stage of their lives.”

Prince Edward Island’s 2017-18 operating budget announced a new universal influenza immunization program, where Islanders of every age will be eligible to receive a free flu vaccination – at the location of their choice. This initiative will eliminate cost as a barrier to influenza immunization uptake.

Approximately one-third of Islanders currently get a yearly flu shot and the goal of the new program is to have half of the Island population vaccinated against influenza.

In addition, “Enhancing Adult Immunization Coverage” will be an initiative lead by the province’s Chief Public Health Office with financial support from the Public Health Agency of Canada. With $333,486 from the federal government, the province aims to increase adult vaccination rates by enhancing health care practitioners’ capacity to identify under-immunized adults and effectively provide community immunization options, as well as a targeted communications strategy to promote adult immunization.

“We know that childhood immunization rates in Prince Edward Island are among the highest in Canada but not enough adult Islanders are getting vaccinated,” Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Health Heather Morrison said. “An effective adult immunization program is important if we want to have good protection for our whole population against diseases like measles, mumps, and pertussis.”

“Vaccination helps prevent the spread of infectious diseases and saves lives. It helps keep us, our families and our communities healthy and safe,” said federal Minister of Health Jane Philpott. “Through its investment in this project, the Government of Canada supports Prince Edward Island’s efforts to increase its vaccination coverage rates.” 

For more information, visit Provincial Immunization Programs.

Media contact:
Autumn Tremere
Health and Wellness

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