Thursday, March 27, 2014

Free Vaccines for Manitoba Familes

March 26, 2014


The provincial government will provide more immunizations to Manitoba families as of April 1, Health Minister Erin Selby said today as she announced the expansion of the province’s routine immunization program for children to include a new rotavirus vaccine and an additional dose of varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, which will be available to eligible children free of charge.
“Our government believes prevention and control of disease is key to better health for all Manitobans and can reduce the use of health-care services, which is why offering these additional vaccines is not only important, it is a priority.  Immunization has saved more lives in Canada in the last 50 years than any other medical intervention and is the best way to protect infants and children from infectious disease,” said Minister Selby.
The first of the two-dose rotavirus vaccine series will be administered to two-month-old infants who were born on or after March 1, 2014.  The second dose will then be given at four months of age.  This vaccine protects against gastroenteritis (diarrhea and vomiting) caused by rotavirus infection.  Almost all children will have at least one rotavirus infection before they are five years of age.
The second dose of the varicella vaccine program will be administered to children four to six years of age, born on or after Jan. 1, 2008.  This vaccine prevents chickenpox and complications arising from chickenpox including skin infections and encephalitis, an infection of the brain.
“The introduction of these vaccines to Manitoba’s routine immunization schedule is great news for families,” said Dr. Michael Routledge, chief provincial public health officer.  “Vaccines help reduce or even eliminate diseases that not so long ago often caused serious complications, including death, for both children and adults.”
Although immunizations in this province are voluntary, vaccines help protect Manitobans and their children from diseases, and also help protect others who cannot be immunized because of certain health conditions including cancer, said Minister Selby.  The addition of these vaccines represents an investment of more than $900,000 a year, she said.
Routledge noted that diseases and their complications are far more serious then the minor side effects that may sometimes be caused by vaccines, such as a sore arm or leg, headache and a tired feeling.

More information on the rotavirus vaccine and the second dose of varicella vaccine is available at  More information on eligibility criteria and the immunization schedule can be found on the Manitoba Health website at

Members of the public may also call Health Links-Info Santé at 204-788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257 (toll free) should they have additional questions.

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