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Immunization is safe. Help protect yourself and your loved ones by ensuring yours are up to date!
Ottawa – This week is Immunization Awareness Week. Ottawa Public Health (OPH) and the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) are reminding residents to check your vaccination records or speak to your health care provider to ensure your immunizations are up to date. Immunizations are safe, benefit people of all ages, and protect individuals and communities by limiting the spread of disease. Children and infants in particular are susceptible to viruses and bacteria carried by the adults around them.

2013 Focus on Pertussis: Immunization Awareness Week 2013 focuses on pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough. In 2012, CHEO alone saw 28 cases of pertussis while 48 cases were reported to OPH. This is the highest number of cases in our community in nearly ten years. As with other infectious diseases, not everyone who gets pertussis goes to see their health care provider. It is likely that many more people were infected but not officially diagnosed with this disease.

Pertussis spreads through sneezing or coughing and it is very contagious. Symptoms may be mild to start, but can quickly develop into coughing fits so severe that they cause vomiting. Symptoms can last for weeks and can make it difficult to eat, drink, or even breathe.

Unvaccinated adults are often the source of pertussis infection in infants and they spread the disease unknowingly. Infants are at greater risk of serious complications because they have not yet received all the doses of vaccine needed to protect them. In Canada, more than half of infants under one year of age who get pertussis are hospitalized and one to two infants die each year in Canada. Primary pertussis immunization for all children is recommended at 2, 4 and 6 months of age. Booster doses are recommended at 18 months, 4 to 6 years, and ten years after the 4 to 6 year booster. A single dose of pertussis-containing vaccine is also recommended for all adults 19-64.

Keep yourself and your loved ones safe from the spread of pertussis and other vaccine-preventable diseases. Check your immunization records or call your health care provider to confirm if your immunizations are up to date. Pregnant women should speak with their primary care provider about pertussis vaccination. If you have not had a pertussis vaccine or require other boosters, please get vaccinated.

OPH collects and monitors immunization information for all children attending daycare and for all students up to grade 12. Contact OPH to update your child’s information every time he/she receives a vaccination. Immunization records are as important as birth certificates and passports – keep them in a safe place.

For more information, visit or call Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744 (TTY: 613-580-9656). You can also connect with OPH on FacebookTumblr and for the latest public health information.

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For more information:
OPH Media Contact

CHEO Media Contact
Marie Belanger

Public inquiries: 
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