Toronto Public Health launches public awareness campaign around vaccines

Toronto Public Health has launched a new public awareness campaign encouraging parents and guardians to make sure their children get vaccinated.

The new campaign features short clips of children describing what vaccines do and why they’re important.

“TPH is focusing this campaign on children’s perspectives on vaccines, their safety and how getting vaccinated helps to keep them, their friends and families healthy,” the city said in its release.

According to the health unit, “vaccine hesitancy” is a growing problem.

“Vaccine hesitancy, which is the reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccines is a growing problem throughout Canada and throughout the world,” said Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health. “The campaign we’re launching here today is part of our comprehensive strategy at Toronto Public Health to promote vaccines and to respond to vaccine hesitancy in Toronto.”

TPH said they are trying to spread awareness about the fact that immunization “provides a safe form of protection against infections that previously caused significant illness, disease and death.”

The Kids Talk Vaccines campaign will include videos on YouTube and other social media platforms, as well as posters at TTC bus shelters, libraries and community centres.

“We’re trying to simplify a very clear message, which is that vaccines work,” said Coun. Joe Cressy, who chairs the board of health. “We could put out data and research studies by the dozens, by the hundreds, by the thousands to make the case. We could roll out advertisements with people in white coats reading their dissertations from years gone by, or we could break this down to the basics.”

According to TPH, 94 per cent of children aged seven to 17 in Toronto were up-to-date with their vaccinations for measles, mumps and rubella in the 2018-19 school year, while 1.7 per cent had a philosophical or religious exemption.

Because vaccines are not 100 per cent effective across a given population, the overall effectiveness of a vaccine depends on “herd immunity” – the reduced chance that a particular disease will spread among a population because most people are immune. 

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