Health Minister Danielle McCann’s announcement coincides with National Immunization Awareness Week.
Damian Dovarganes / AP
Infants born in Quebec as of June 1 will be immunized according to a streamlined and improved vaccination schedule, Health Minister Danielle McCann announced Wednesday.“The decision to simplify the immunization schedule aims to encourage parents to vaccinate their children within a time frame that promotes the best possible protection against preventable diseases,” McCann said in a statement that coincides with National Immunization Awareness Week.“These changes will allow children to benefit from adequate immunization coverage, in line with expert recommendations, while reducing the number of visits required,” McCann added.The main difference is that children will no longer be given a five-in-one vaccine at the age of six months, eliminating one visit to the doctor’s office.The revised schedule is as follows:— A six-in-one shot containing vaccines to protect against diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, hepatitis B, poliomyelitis and Haemophilus influenzae will continue to be administered at the age of two and four months.— Also, at the age of two and four months, pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccines will continue to be administered.— However, a five-in-one shot that is currently given at six months will be eliminated as of June 1. That pentavalent vaccine immunizes against diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, poliomyelitis and Haemophilus Influenzae infections.— Instead, that pentavalent vaccine will be given at the age of 12 months starting on June 1.— Also at the age of 12 months, infants will be given a single shot of the MMRV vaccine to immunize against the measles, mumps and rubella as well as chickenpox. Under the current schedule (which will change on June 1), infants at that age receive the MMR shot without the chickenpox vaccine.— At the age of 18 months, children will receive a booster shot of the MMRV vaccine, which they currently receive under the pre-existing schedule.— Also at the age of 18 months, children will be vaccinated against meningococcal serogroup C infections. Under the current schedule, they receive that shot at 12 months.— Finally, at the age of 18 months, children will be given a new shot to protect against hepatitis A and B infections.A report last year by the Quebec Immunization Committee suggested the changes, in part, to prevent some parents from delaying vaccinations for their children.“The growing complexity of the child’s immunization schedule is accompanied by a large number of visits and injections per visit,” the committee concluded in its report.“This sometimes leads parents and vaccinators to want to delay certain doses and may cause vaccine delays.”The Quebec Health Ministry decided to roll out the new schedule without holding a news conference to explain the technicalities of all the changes — something that it often does for important public-health campaigns. Meanwhile, the minister’s statement contained few explanations on the differences between the pre-existing and revised vaccine schedules.Health Ministry officials were unable to make available any vaccine experts on Wednesday to discuss the new schedule. An official with the Institut national de santé publique du Québec instead referred a reporter to the 2018 report by the immunization email@example.com/Aaron_DerfelRelated