In October 2011, the first of a new vaccine series that protects against three strains of the most common human infectious-disease agent was issued to Ontario health-care workers. Nearly a year later, it was sent to about a million people, mostly parents of children who attend school or daycare.
Now, as some pediatricians and experts in infectious disease have expressed concern about vaccine underuse, the province has reached the 1-million mark for vaccinations administered during that time period.
According to figures provided by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Ontario has administered 24,689,501 doses of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine since 2011. During the same period, 1,023,513 doses of the polio vaccine were administered.
But that does not mean that all 1.2 million people who received one or more of those vaccines have been immunized. Thousands of people have remained too nervous or put off by the threat of these diseases, and so they did not receive the shots.
During that time, the number of confirmed cases of all three of the diseases fell below 1,000 for two years.
Now they are again at a high — as high as in 2010, with 178 cases of measles in 2017 and 140 cases in 2018, according to figures released by the province on Wednesday. One of the diseases, measles, is one of the most contagious; another, mumps, can be fatal. The third, polio, can cause paralysis and death in those who catch it.