News Release Archive

Starting April 1, 1996 children between the ages of four and six
years and who are entering grade primary in September, will
receive a second dose of the measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine
as part of the publicly-funded Nova Scotia immunization program.

"The program will ensure all pre-school children in the future
will have the opportunity to receive two doses of the MMR vaccine
before they start attending school," said Dr. Jeff Scott,
provincial medical officer of health.

Children have traditionally received the MMR vaccine at 12 months
of age. Introducing a second dose of the vaccine means that they
will have less than a one per cent chance of contracting the
measles. The vaccine will also provide extra protection against
rubella and the mumps. A two-dose MMR immunization schedule in
Nova Scotia will help to achieve the national goal of eliminating
measles by the year 2005.

The MMR vaccine will be administered to children at the same time
as their pre-school booster. The vaccine will be provided by
physicians and public health nurses. Children who are entering
grade primary in September, 1996, and who have already received
their booster shot, should return to their physician or public
health nurse, who gave them the original booster, to receive the
MMR vaccine before starting school.

The MMR vaccine will be administered free of charge to children
aged four to six years who are starting school in the fall.
Parents who wish to have their older children immunized with the
vaccine should discuss it with their physician. There will be a
cost for immunizing older children because it is not part of the
publicly-funded immunization program.

Approximately $100,000 will be spent for the new vaccine. The
majority of provinces and territories in Canada are implementing
the second dose MMR vaccine.

Last year there were 2,301 reported cases of measles in Canada.
There have been four confirmed cases of measles, and no outbreaks
in Nova Scotia since 1992. Measles is a serious and highly
contagious disease caused by a virus. Symptoms include: a fever,
red watery eyes, a rash that starts on the face and neck and then
spreads, runny nose and a cough.

"The expansion of the childhood immunization program is a good
example of preventive health care for children in Nova Scotia,"
said Health Minister Ron Stewart.


Contact: Sue McKeage  902-424-3581

jlw                  Mar. 21, 1996                    4:00 p.m.