for all Nunavut infants targets risky infections
Last Updated Mon, 13 May 2002 20:37:04
IQALUIT - All infants in Nunavut under the age of two
will take part in a new government program involving an expensive
vaccine that has not been widely used in Canada.
Inuit children are three times more likely to suffer from invasive
pneumococcal diseases than the national average. They can lead to
pneumococcal meningitis, pneumonia and upper respiratory infections
including otitis media, a middle ear infection that could result in
Prevnar is a vaccine approved in Canada last year. Nunavut's chief
medical officer Dr. Ann Roberts says about 1,500 children will receive
it starting in the fall.
Roberts says she hopes it will help prevent health problems in the
"We do have invasive disease and pneumonia, we do have invasive
disease, bacteriumia: infection of the blood stream. We have had
community outbreaks of pneumococcal pneumonia and we have always known
that some percentage of ear infections and sinusitis are caused by
strepneumonia," said Roberts.
But Prevnar does not come cheap a single dose costs $70. Infants in
Nunavut will each need four doses.
Health Minister Ed Picco says the budget for the vaccination program
has already been approved, and that the cost is worth it.
"We have a very young population in Nunavut and a $300,000 price tag
is a small price to pay to ensure that some of these common occurrences
that result in, for example, hearing loss for children doesn't happen so
we think it's money well spent," said Picco.
Written by CBC News Online