Meningococcal threat diminished but shots still encouraged

The threat might be coming to an end, but South Okanagan youth who have not yet received immunization against meningococcal disease should take advantage of free shots before the outbreak is declared over, Interior Health is suggesting.

“We are extremely pleased with the response from the public to make immunization a priority, but are continuing to encourage those who have not yet been immunized to do so, especially those in the 18-19 year age group,” said Dr. Karin Goodison, Medical Health Officer.

“If you know someone in the Okanagan who is in this age group, please encourage them to get immunized while vaccine is available. Immunization is one of the best ways to protect yourself against this disease.”

To date, Interior Health has administered 14,486 total immunizations in the Okanagan as part of the meningococcal disease outbreak. It is reporting a lower uptake for vaccine in the 18-19 year age group, and is further urging this particular age group to get immunized while vaccine is available.

Interior Health expects to declare an end to the outbreak on Feb. 13, assuming no additional cases of meningococcal disease are reported over the next seven days.

After the outbreak is declared over, only students in grade nine and 10 will be eligible to receive this vaccine for free at health centres. To see a full list of where to obtain the Meningococcal Quadrivalent vaccine, visit interiorhealth.ca.

Free immunizations are available at health centres and select Shoppers Drug Mart and London Drugs locations. Many of these pharmacies have extended hours to accommodate immunization.

The meningococcal disease outbreak was declared in December.

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