P.E.I. measles infant vaccination 11% below national average

The measles vaccination rate for infants in P.E.I. is 11 per cent below the national average recent statistics show.

Health officials should do more to 'encourage vaccination'

More should be done to encourage measles vaccination, says the Public Health Agency of Canada's director general. (U.S. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention)
The measles vaccination rate for P.E.I. infants is 11 per cent below the national average, according to statistics from provincial and national health agencies.

P.E.I. health officials say 84 per cent of Island infants received the shot by the time they're two years of age versus the 95 per cent national average.

Low immunization rates have been linked to a current measles outbreak in B.C.              

Public health officials need to do more to encourage vaccination, says Dr. John Spika, the director general for immunization with the Public Health Agency of Canada.

"We have to work continuously to improve or maintain people's confidence, parent's confidence in the vaccines that we have, the reason for why their children need the vaccines, as well as the fact that these vaccines are very, very safe. Much, much safer than getting the disease which we're trying to prevent," said Spika.

P.E.I. health officials say the immunization rate here is believed to be higher once Island children reach school age.

Everyone requires two doses of measles vaccine to be covered.

Symptoms of measles may develop seven to 21 days after exposure and include: high fever, cough, runny nose, cough, drowsiness, irritability, and red and inflamed eyes. Small white spots may appear in the mouth and throat.

About three to seven days after the start of symptoms a red, blotchy rash appears on the face and spreads down the body to the arms and legs.

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