Minister of Health announces partnerships to improve vaccination rates in Canada

News release

New project will improve access to vaccination and increase vaccine coverage

April 24, 2019
Surrey, BC
Public Health Agency of Canada

The majority of Canadians vaccinate their children and believe that vaccines are safe, effective and necessary. However, some Canadians have questions about vaccines that can cause them to hesitate or delay vaccinating themselves and their children, while others experience difficulty accessing vaccines or keeping up to date with vaccine schedules.

Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent the spread of serious diseases like measles, whooping cough and the flu in our communities. Infants, especially newborns, are among the most vulnerable to these diseases. Physicians are an important source of vaccine information for parents. So too are midwives, whom many Canadians are choosing for support during labour, delivery and postpartum care.

Recognizing that some Canadians face challenges in accessing vaccines, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, today announced a new project with the Fraser Health Authority in British Columbia to improve access to vaccination and increase vaccine coverage for two-year olds in the Surrey region. It will focus on improving services for hard-to-reach and low‑income families, as well as Indigenous people and newcomers to Canada.

As part of National Immunization Week (April 20-27), Minister Petitpas Taylor also announced three other projects—one national with the Canadian Association of Midwives, one in Nova Scotia, and one in Quebec—aimed at improving vaccination rates in Canada and addressing the reasons why some Canadians are hesitant to get vaccines.

Quotes

“Vaccines save lives. Our government will continue to act to increase vaccine coverage because they are not only safe for protecting our health, but they also protect those around us. I encourage Canadians who have questions or concerns about vaccination to talk to their healthcare providers.”

The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health

“Keeping Canadians, especially our children, healthy and free from disease is a shared priority. Vaccines are the best way to protect our friends, family and neighbours from diseases like measles, chicken pox or influenza. I encourage all Canadians to do their part to protect their communities by getting themselves and their family members vaccinated, which will help to stop the spread of disease.”

Dr. Theresa Tam
Chief Public Health Officer of Canada

“This funding will help our provincial public health program assess, for the first time, the immunization coverage rate among our seven-year-old children,” said Dr. Daniela Kempkens, Medical Officer of Health for Nova Scotia Health Authority’s Eastern Zone. “The results will assist us in identifying and addressing barriers to immunization that some Nova Scotian parents and guardians are experiencing. From this we will develop targeted interventions, focusing on communities that emerge as disadvantaged when it comes to staying up-to-date with immunizations, which will ultimately improve coverage rates in Nova Scotia’s children.”

Dr. Daniela Kempkens
Medical Officer of Health, Nova Scotia Health Authority

“Canadians need access to accurate and evidence-based information about vaccination from trusted healthcare providers – midwives can play a vital role in providing this information and supporting their clients to make safe and informed choices around vaccination.”

Nathalie Pambrun, President
Canadian Associations of Midwives

“Staying on top of children’s immunizations is a challenge. By their second birthday, roughly 25 per cent of children in the Fraser Health region have fallen behind on receiving their vaccines putting them at risk of contracting serious diseases. It could be parents and caregivers juggling the demands of family and work but there could be more to the story. PHAC’s effort to help us better understand the barriers to immunizations is appreciated.”

Dr. Shovita Padhi
Medical health officer, Fraser Health

Quick facts

  • The 2017 Childhood National Immunization Coverage Survey shows that vaccination coverage remains high, but largely unchanged from previous years (2011, 2013 and 2015).

  • 90% of two-year-old children had received at least one dose of a measles vaccine.

  • The overwhelming majority of parents of two-year-olds agree that vaccines are safe (94%) and effective (96%), and protect others as well (95%).

  • Since the launch of the Immunization Partnership Fund (IPF) in 2016, 19 projects have been funded across Canada to support innovative approaches to increasing vaccination acceptance and uptake in Canada. The projects announced today will receive more than $2.3 million through the IPF.

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Associated links

Contacts

Thierry Bélair
Office of Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health
613-957-0200

Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada
613-957-2983
hc.media.sc@canada.ca

Public Inquiries:
613-957-2991
1-866-225-0709


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