News Release Archive

Starting today, children in Nova Scotia will receive a more
effective vaccine to prevent whooping cough,  announced Health
Minister Jim Smith.

"Whooping cough can be a very serious and even fatal illness in
small children," Dr. Smith said. "The new vaccine offers better
protection, and more peace of mind for parents."

Whooping cough (pertussis) vaccine is given to infants and
pre-schoolers in combination with vaccines against diphtheria,
tetanus, polio and Hemophilus influenzae type B (Hib). The new
combination vaccines, Pentacel and Quadracel, cause fewer
reactions and provide better protection than current vaccines in

"Parents should ensure their children are vaccinated,
particularly parents who held off immunizing their children
because of concern about side-effects," said Dr. Jeff Scott,
provincial medical officer of health.

The public health immunization program using the new combination
vaccines begins today. Children will receive Pentacel at two,
four, six and 18 months of age, and Quadracel once between the
ages four to six years. The vaccines are administered by family
physicians. The new immunization program will cost $350,000 per

Whooping cough is a highly infectious disease. Complications are
more common and more serious in infants. About 500 cases of
whooping cough are reported annually in Nova Scotia, though many
cases likely go unreported. The disease can be fatal for one of
every 200 affected children under six months of age.

Vaccines are the best way to protect against some serious
infections. The Canadian Pediatric Society and the National
Advisory Committee on Immunization strongly recommend routine

The annual budget for vaccine programs in Nova Scotia has
increased to $2.65 million annually from $2.3 million with the
introduction of this new program.


Contact: Sue McKeage
         Department of Health

ngr                  September 2, 1997 - 4:30 PM