FREDERICTON (GNB) – New Brunswickers are encouraged to observe National Immunization Awareness Week, April 22-29. This year’s provincial campaign aims to celebrate improvements to the New Brunswick routine childhood and school immunization programs. 

“Immunization is important to protect the health of our population,” said acting chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell. “That is why, for this National Immunization Awareness Week, we are celebrating the success of vaccines. I encourage those who are eligible to take advantage of the additions we have made to the publicly funded program. We have added the Rotavirus vaccine for infants and HPV vaccine for boys.”

Routine immunization starts at birth, continues through all stages of life, and is available at no cost to New Brunswickers. To ensure full protection, parents and guardians should check with their health care provider to determine if their children have received the vaccines recommended in the New Brunswick Routine Immunization Schedule.

Two new publicly funded vaccines will be available to eligible New Brunswickers this year.

Beginning in June, children who meet the age requirements will be eligible to receive a vaccine against Rotavirus, a common virus affecting young children that causes severe diarrhea and vomiting, which can lead to serious illness. The vaccine will be added to the routine immunization recommended for infants, and will be given by mouth at two and four months of age.

Starting in September, the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, which was previously provided to girls in Grade 7, will be offered to Grade 7 boys, as well. At the same time, an improved vaccine (Gardasil 9), which provides protection against additional HPV types, will replace the current vaccine.

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection. It is highly contagious and can affect the skin, cervix, anus, mouth and throat. It affects sexually active women and men of all ages, even if they have few sexual partners. HPV infection can cause anal, vaginal, vulvar, penile, mouth and throat cancers.