|EMSB RESPONDS TO MENINGOCOCCAL VACCINATION CAMPAIGN|
MONTREAL, SEPTEMBER 17, 2001– The Minister of Health and Social Services has launched a province-wide Meningococcal Vaccination Campaign which will target approximately 400,000 young people from ages two months to 20 years of age in the Montreal region.
This initiative, which is preventive in nature and not a response to an epidemic, will provide free vaccinations on a voluntary basis to individuals for whom parental consent has been obtained (under 14 years of age). In the Montreal area vaccination sessions will be organized primarily in schools between September 24 and the end of December 2001.
Because specific age groups are at a different risk, the vaccination program will be implemented in the following order of priority: high schools, CEGEPs, universities and elementary schools (including kindergarten and pre-kindergarten). The duration of the vaccination sessions will be a function of the availability of CLSC personnel as well as other factors such as space and school schedules.
The Ministry of Health and Social Services and the Montreal Public Health Department have prepared covering letters, consent forms, and information sheets which will be provided by the CLSC to each school for distribution to all parents. The specific operational plan in each school will be determined by the principal in consultation with the school nurse. The latter will initially contact the principal a few weeks before the vaccination sessions are implemented to make the necessary arrangements.
Principals are being asked to assist the nurses by providing the appropriate clerical and/or administrative support, including parent volunteers, where possible, in order to ensure the smooth functioning of the vaccination sessions. The EMSB intends to provide each CLSC with a list of students, by homeroom, for all the schools in their respective territories.
The EMSB also notes that that teachers and school personnel are not targetted by this vaccination campaign unless born after July 17, 1981). All children registered in school are eligible for a free vaccination, even if they are not permanent Québec residents. In general, exposure to vaccination activities poses no risk for pregnant women. However, pregnant students will need a physician’s prescription to be vaccinated. Allergies to foods or antibiotics are not a risk factor for vaccine side effects.
Michael J. Cohen