P.E.I. health officials launch adult immunization campaign

P.E.I. health officials have launched a new campaign to ensure adults have their immunizations up-to-date.

Province still experiences outbreaks of preventable diseases such as measles, mumps and whooping cough

Adults need to keep up on their immunizations just as much as children, says P.E.I. health department. (Chanss Lagaden/CBC)

P.E.I. health officials have launched a new campaign to ensure adults have their immunizations up-to-date.

The adult immunization project includes a public information campaign, education for health care providers, and the creation of a provincial immunization registry.

That's to go along with the already-existing registry for children.

P.E.I.'s chief public health officer, Dr. Heather Morrison, said immunizations are just as important for adults as children.

She said most deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases now occur among adults.

Some vaccines don't offer lifelong protection. Adults require a tetanus booster every ten years and should receive the influenza vaccine each year.

Dr. Heather Morrison, P.E.I.'s chief public health officer, says most deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases now occur among adults. (CBC )
Morrison said many provinces in Canada, including P.E.I., continue to experience outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, mumps and whooping cough.

Many immunizations are free for adults on the Island, but there are fees for some, such as the shingles vaccine, which costs around $200.

Government should pay for that vaccine, said PC opposition MLA James Alyward, because it would actually save on the cost of treating people who come down with the virus.

"If the government was as serious about this and protecting our seniors from the shingles disease, then they would put a program in place so that seniors... could be vaccinated and thus ultimately saving the province thousands and thousands of dollars," said Alyward.

The provincial immunization program schedule for adults can be seen on the department of Health and Wellness website.