Canadian Public Health Association

Canadian Public Health Association

December 06, 2010 00:01 ET

Leaders Build Momentum for Creation of National Immunization Registry

National Immunization Strategy Crucial to Success of post-2014 Health Care Accord

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 6, 2010) - As Canada looks to the renewal of its Health Accord in 2014, public health leaders are hopeful room can be found for the creation of a national immunization registry, says Debra Lynkowski, Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA).

"Unfortunately, our typically Canadian response to broader immunization issues has resulted in a patchwork of approaches across the country," said Lynkowski. "Now, as we approach the renewal of the Health Accord in 2014, is the time for a harmonized, national immunization registry."

While we recognize additional funding may seem an improbable request of governments in the current fiscal environment, a national immunization strategy that includes at its core a national registry, one supported by all provinces and territories, would ensure Canadians are equitably protected against vaccine-preventable illnesses, regardless of where they live, their age or their socio-economic status.

"All Canadians should have equal access to immunizations for vaccine-preventable diseases. Where you live should have no bearing on access to immunization programs," said Lynkowski.

Improvements stemming from a national immunization strategy would include harmonization of childhood immunization schedules across the country, aligned introduction of new vaccines, and equal access to vaccines across all provinces and territories. The systematic collection of immunization data in a national immunization registry will modernize the way jurisdictions communicate patients' immunization histories and help to ensure coverage rates are high enough throughout the country to best protect Canadians.

A national strategy would also promote better opportunities for research, vaccine promotion and improved education of health care providers and the general public, said Lynkowski. Currently, Canada lacks a harmonized cross-country routine immunization schedule.

"Simply put, it is better to prevent disease and illness than to have to treat it," said Lynkowski.

These recommendations are a result of unprecedented and ongoing dialogue with government leaders, industry and public health and health care stakeholders.

Founded in 1910, the Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA) is the independent voice for public health in Canada with links to the international community. As the only Canadian non-governmental organization focused exclusively on public health, CPHA is uniquely positioned to advise decision-makers about public health system reform and to guide initiatives to help safeguard the personal and community health of Canadians and people around the world. With a diverse membership representing more than 25 professions, a track record of success, a collaborative approach and national reach, CPHA is Canada's Public Health Leader.

Background

CPHA has been working actively with stakeholders to improve the environment for a national immunization strategy that would protect Canadians against vaccine preventable diseases. To facilitate an ongoing dialogue, CPHA organized a roundtable discussion in 2009 with stakeholders and has since participated in various information-sharing activities organized by leading national organizations.

In addition, to ensure timely response to last year's H1N1 pandemic, the CPHA, in collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Canadian Medical Association, College of Family Physicians of Canada and the National Specialty Society for Community Medicine developed "PANDEMIC H1N1: Fast facts for front-line clinicians."

In response to a significant demand for information in addition to what was available from the Government of Canada, CPHA established the Canadian H1N1 Information Clearinghouse as an additional, non-governmental source of reliable information for Canadians.

As secretariat for the Canadian Coalition for Immunization Awareness and Promotion, CPHA facilitates and coordinates the activities of the Coalition to minimize duplication and ensure that Canadians receive consistent immunization messages.

A backgrounder is available at the following address: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/cpha-eng.pdf

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