Canadian Government Announces Support for Influenza Research and Launches New Online Immunization Guide for Doctors

OTTAWA, December 3, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - On the opening day of the 10th Canadian Immunization Conference, the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, announced two important initiatives to protect Canadians from infectious diseases.

"Immunization lays the foundation for good health in this country," said Minister Aglukkaq. "That is why we are renewing our commitment to a leading influenza research network and launching an updated, online edition of the Canadian Immunization Guide."

The Public Health Agency of Canada/Canadian Institutes of Health Research Influenza Research Network (PCIRN) is made up of leading influenza researchers from across the country. The network conducts cutting-edge work that informs public health programs and helps protect Canadians. The Harper Government will invest $4.5 million to continue its support of PCIRN.

The Canadian Immunization Guide has been an authoritative source for health professionals seeking information and recommendations on the use of vaccines since 1979. Developed by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) and the Public Health Agency of Canada, the new edition launched today is available in an online, evergreen format that includes 21 new or updated chapters.

The two initiatives were announced on the opening day of the 10th Canadian Immunization Conference, where the Government of Canada is pleased to welcome more than 900 leaders in immunization to share knowledge and expertise. This year's conference theme is Excellence in Immunization: Empowering, Engaging and Educating.

The Conference is hosted by the Public Health Agency of Canada in collaboration with the Canadian Association of Immunization Research and Evaluation (CAIRE), the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) and the Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA).

"It is vital to remain vigilant in ensuring that all vaccines that we give to children are safe, effective and necessary," said Dr. Joan Robinson, Chair of the CPS Infectious Disease and Immunization Committee. "The Canadian Immunization Conference is the venue that allows health care workers from across the country to discuss and analyze diseases and vaccines in the Canadian context in our attempt to pursue this goal."

Immunization is a safe and effective way to protect children, families and communities from vaccine-preventable disease.

"In Canada, immunization has been so successful in eliminating diseases that many of us have become disconnected from the threat," said Erica Di Ruggiero, Chair of the CPHA. "Our collective challenge is to find innovative and effective ways to communicate the public health benefits of immunization programs including reduced incidence of disease and decreased burden on the health care system."

Immunization is also a very important part of Health Canada and First Nation efforts to prevent disease in First Nation communities. Health Canada will continue to work with First Nation communities, health organizations, as well as the provincial and territorial governments to support culturally appropriate immunization programming, increased awareness and immunization coverage.

"This Conference provides an important showcase for Canadian vaccine research and program evaluation," said Dr. David Scheifele, Director of CAIRE. "Such research support helps to provide Canadians with optimal immunization programs."

The Conference is being held from December 3-5 at the Vancouver Convention Centre. For more information, including a conference program, please visit: http://www.publichealth.gc.ca/cnic-ccni/