Parents ready to get kids fully vaccinated against deadly bacteria, poll shows

Most Toronto parents are ready to have their kids vaccinated against a potentially deadly bacterial infection, according to a Toronto-based survey released on Tuesday.

The poll, published in the journal Pediatrics, said that 65% of parents of toddlers and preschoolers would like to have their kids fully vaccinated against a deadly bacteria linked to a large illness outbreak. Of that group, 30% had not done so at the time the survey was conducted in June 2018.

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The bacterium, Candida auris, is highly infectious, often causing babies to suffer pneumonia, blood poisoning and even death.

Cindy Chung, senior epidemiologist with Toronto Public Health, said: “It’s scary when you have a child come in to the emergency department. They can be really sick very quickly. They are congested. They have swelling in their head. They are floppy. Their breathing gets laboured and their pain is really severe.”

Chung said it wasn’t clear whether all adults in Toronto were susceptible, but that many who contracted the virus had not been vaccinated. Other poll participants said they doubted their children would get the vaccine.

The recommendations to protect against it come from Canadian health officials who last year declared the outbreak over. The bacteria was first detected in April 2018, when 46 people fell ill. At least one of the people who contracted the bug died.

A vaccine, known as COVID-19, was developed in response to the outbreak. It is recommended for children at least one year old and 11 months old. Once fully developed, the vaccine lasts a lifetime.

Federal officials said in May that after examining that vaccine, a broader recommendation to protect against the bacteria for children from six months to 15 years of age was being added to the Canadian immunization schedule.

Doctors from across the US, Canada and Mexico collaborated on the survey. It was conducted via web-based and phone surveys, with 1,010 people between the ages of 5 and 64 responding. Results were weighted to reflect demographic and geographic factors, according to the Canadian university.

The researchers said their findings suggested that parents were more likely to get their kids immunized if they could see an explanation of why vaccination is important.

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