Keep vaccinations updated: health officials

Health officials are reminding parents to make sure children’s vaccinations are up-to-date.

Free childhood immunizations are available for infants and school-age children in Saskatchewan to protect them against highly contagious and potentially serious diseases like measles, mumps, whooping cough and chicken pox.

“It’s important to have your children vaccinated on time and on schedule to ensure full protection, especially in schools or other settings where they are most exposed,” Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said. “Recent measles outbreaks in Europe and other countries are also a reminder that infectious diseases can spread quickly, through travel and coming into contact with unimmunized or under-immunized individuals.”

Routine vaccinations are free of charge and easily available in Saskatchewan at public health clinics (for pre-school children) and through school-based programs (for school age students).

Infants and preschool-age children are eligible to receive the following free routine vaccinations:

* Diphtheria

* Tetanus

* Pertussis (whooping cough)

* Polio

* Haemophilus influenza type b

* Measles

* Mumps

* Rubella

* Varicella (chicken pox)

* Meningococcal disease

* Pneumococcal disease

* Rotavirus

School-age children are eligible to receive the following free routine vaccinations:

* Grade 6 students – hepatitis B, bacterial meningitis, varicella (chicken pox), human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine

* Grade 8 students – tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough) booster

Public Health Nurses review the immunization records of students in Grades 1, 6 and 8 to check if they are up-to-date for all age appropriate vaccinations.

Parents will soon start receiving immunization information packages for children in Grades 6 and 8.

If your child missed vaccinations or to check your child’s immunization status, contact your local public health office.

Information on Saskatchewan’s immunization programs, the Routine Childhood Immunization Schedule, and vaccine fact sheets are available online or you can call your public health office or HealthLine 811 to inquire.