National public health data finds vaccine rates for kids fall short

The study says 2.4 per cent of two-year-olds are estimated to be unvaccinated

New data suggests vaccination rates among Canadian children are falling short.

The Public Health Agency of Canada says none of the country’s national vaccination goals were met in any of the age groups surveyed in 2017.

Dr. Theresa Tam says that means more kids need their shots if we’re going to reach sufficient community immunity to prevent disease and outbreaks.

While at least 95 per cent of two-year-olds should ideally be covered, researchers found just 75.8 per cent received the multidose vaccine for diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus. Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island were the only provinces to cover more than 80 per cent, while Manitoba and Nunavut were below 70 per cent.

The study says 2.4 per cent of two-year-olds are estimated to be unvaccinated, with Atlantic Canada having the lowest unvaccinated rate at 1.3 per cent, while British Columbia had the highest at 3.9 per cent.

Among seven-year-olds, only girls vaccinated for rubella met the 95-per cent coverage goal at 95.8 per cent, versus 93.8 per cent for boys. That vaccine only requires one dose, compared to two doses for measles and mumps where the national rate was 87 per cent and 86.4 per cent, respectively.

ALSO READ: Should B.C. parents receive money if they make sure their kids are vaccinated?

Meanwhile, none of the three routine vaccines for adolescents met the national coverage goal of 90 per cent, although the Tdap booster came close at 89.3 per cent. Kids aged 14 and 17 get up to three routine vaccinations in school-based programs, depending on the jurisdiction, including for hepatitis B and human papillomavirus (HPV).

The Public Health Agency of Canada routinely monitors childhood vaccination rates through the childhood National Immunization Coverage Survey, which began in 1994 and has been conducted approximately every two years.

Experts set vaccination goals in 2017, with the aim of reaching them by 2025.

Although the numbers fall short of ideal, Tuesday’s study said vaccination coverage among two- and seven-year-olds have not changed much in recent years.

The agency said an upcoming report will look at knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs of Canadian parents regarding vaccination.

In other data, the survey found polio coverage for two-year-olds higher at 90.7 per cent, but Newfoundland and Labrador was the only province to reach the 95 per cent goal, at 96.9 per cent.

Other provinces and territories came close — including P.E.I. at 93.9 per cent, Nova Scotia at 93.5 per cent and the Yukon at 93.7 per cent. Coverage was lowest in British Columbia at 87.5 per cent, Manitoba at 85.6 per cent and Nunavut at 82.1 per cent.

Measles coverage for two-year-olds was 90.2 per cent but when doses administered to those under the recommended 12 months were excluded, coverage dropped to 87.6 per cent.

The lowest coverage for seven-year-olds involved five doses or more for diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus, where only 80.5 per cent of kids were covered.

In 14-year-olds, HPV coverage in girls increased to 83 per cent from 74.6 per cent, likely due to increased availability and awareness of this relatively new vaccine, said the study.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Port Hardy Mounties help First Nation chief build smokehouse

‘We have great maya’xala for all the community members, in each of the communities…’

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

Access to remote Side Bay beach up in the bureaucratic air

Roads to the pristine north west coast Vancouver Island beach at risk of being deactivated

Mount Cain planning a modified winter season for north Island ski and snowboarders

Skiing is a COVID-friendly activity, but shared public spaces require adjustment

Remote B.C. tourism lodge staffed for coastal clean up instead of wilderness tours

The Great Bear Rainforest is home to exotic wildlife — and international trash

QUIZ: A celebration of apples

September is the start of the apple harvest

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Comox Valley protesters send message over old-growth logging

Event in downtown Courtenay was part of wider event on Friday

Application deadline for fish harvester benefits program extended

Those financially impacted by the pandemic have until Oct. 5 to apply

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Most Read