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New vaccine for all Nunavut infants targets risky infections

http://cbc.ca/stories/2002/05/13/prevnar_nunav020513

New vaccine for all Nunavut infants targets risky infections
Last Updated Mon, 13 May 2002 20:37:04

IQALUIT - All infants in Nunavut under the age of two will take part in a new government program involving an expensive vaccine that has not been widely used in Canada.

Inuit children are three times more likely to suffer from invasive pneumococcal diseases than the national average. They can lead to pneumococcal meningitis, pneumonia and upper respiratory infections including otitis media, a middle ear infection that could result in hearing loss.

Prevnar is a vaccine approved in Canada last year. Nunavut's chief medical officer Dr. Ann Roberts says about 1,500 children will receive it starting in the fall.

Roberts says she hopes it will help prevent health problems in the territory.

"We do have invasive disease and pneumonia, we do have invasive disease, bacteriumia: infection of the blood stream. We have had community outbreaks of pneumococcal pneumonia and we have always known that some percentage of ear infections and sinusitis are caused by strepneumonia," said Roberts.

But Prevnar does not come cheap — a single dose costs $70. Infants in Nunavut will each need four doses.

Health Minister Ed Picco says the budget for the vaccination program has already been approved, and that the cost is worth it.

"We have a very young population in Nunavut and a $300,000 price tag is a small price to pay to ensure that some of these common occurrences that result in, for example, hearing loss for children doesn't happen so we think it's money well spent," said Picco.

 

 

Written by CBC News Online staff

ALL INFORMATION, DATA, AND MATERIAL CONTAINED, PRESENTED, OR PROVIDED HERE IS FOR GENERAL INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY AND IS NOT TO BE CONSTRUED AS REFLECTING THE KNOWLEDGE OR OPINIONS OF THE PUBLISHER, AND IS NOT TO BE CONSTRUED OR INTENDED AS PROVIDING MEDICAL OR LEGAL ADVICE.  THE DECISION WHETHER OR NOT TO VACCINATE IS AN IMPORTANT AND COMPLEX ISSUE AND SHOULD BE MADE BY YOU, AND YOU ALONE, IN CONSULTATION WITH YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER.