By Linda Hoang, Global News
About 40,000 Grade 9 students in Alberta are set to get immunized against several forms of meningitis.
It’s part of a new $2 million immunization program that will begin Feb 1.
The vaccine, which will protect against four different strains of meningococcal disease, will be issused through school-based clinics and become part of the annual immunization program offered to adolescents in the province.
Dr. Andre Corriveau, the province’s chief medical officer of health, said Alberta is only the second province in Canada to offer the quad-protection, “quadravant” vaccine, although several provinces already implement similiar school vaccination programs for adolescents.
“It is a better vaccine,” Corriveau said. “It provides a better and longer lasting immunity.”
The protection can last up to 10 years, right through adolescence, he said, which is important as teenagers are at a higher risk of contracting the disease.
Alberta Health Services chose to implement the program in Grade 9 students because a vaccination program for for diphteria and tetanus already exist in that grade.
“So they’ll be offered the vaccines at the same time,” Corriveau explained.