B.C. Government Announces Immunization Program to Fight Meningitis and Pneumonia
Harrison, Don; Colebourn, John
The recent death of a three-year-old boy from meningitis C and the occurrence on the same day of a second case in Abbotsford of the disease have prompted the government of British Columbia, Canada, to launch an immunization program against meningitis and pneumonia. In years past, immunization programs similar to this have been rejected by the government because of the expense; the program is expected to cost about C$15 million this year, rising to C$18.3 million in fiscal year 2004-2005. The two-phase program of free immunizations for those considered at high risk for meningitis C will commence in April. It will also target high-risk children under the age of five and aboriginal infants with immunization against a streptococcus [Streptococcus pneumoniae], which can cause pneumonia and lead to other forms of meningitis. Phase two, which will target all one-year-olds and children in grade six, will begin in July, later followed by vaccinations of children ages two, four, six and 18 months old.