Toronto health centre health chief urges ‘extra kids’ to get vaccinated

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Runners are pictured at the finish line of the USA Half Marathon, run to raise money for children with spinal cord injuries The first chief medical officer for the…

Toronto health centre health chief urges 'extra kids' to get vaccinated

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Runners are pictured at the finish line of the USA Half Marathon, run to raise money for children with spinal cord injuries

The first chief medical officer for the Toronto Liberty Village Community Health Centre has contacted all members of the League of Extraordinary Kids after a recent measles outbreak at a Toronto elementary school.

According to Preet Lakhani, DCMO, she’s encouraged them to get vaccinated, though she says it would help if their children did not have chicken pox.

“What I am hoping is that they would have no chicken pox when they come [back],” Dr Lakhani told the BBC, “and they would get vaccinated.”

Most of the parents who immunised their children against chicken pox choose to also immunise against measles.

But the danger of serious complications from an outbreak like that at Padonia Public School is that many children still do not get vaccinated.

The World Health Organization recommends that children start immunisations at 12 to 16 months.

The Toronto Liberty Village Community Health Centre made it a point to get its staff educated on the importance of getting their children vaccinated during days when many parents who are pregnant, have travelled or have not had their children vaccinated in school.

Dr Lakhani said a visit to Canada’s Wonderland in April this year was the catalyst for seeking out the extra kids.

Image copyright Reuters Image caption British actor Daniel Kaluuya is one of the superheroes joining in on the vaccination drive

“The whole story was around chicken pox, and then the Mother’s Day event was where we saw a lot of patients come to us who had not got vaccinated. And kids between ages one and 11 have really never had chicken pox and are very vulnerable.”

It’s also been a big summer for the superheroes.

Late last month, world-famous comic book writer Grant Morrison tweeted: “Big shout out to the super heroes at @TorontoGLVCHC for helping my son take his key #tweets to get #immuneboost for those kids in the city at risk.”

Dr Lakhani has been retweeting Grant’s tweets, saying she is “smiling” over the impact it’s had on the positivity of her work.

Image copyright SBS Image caption On the streets of Toronto, the superheroes “hugs and high fives” vulnerable children and their parents

The superheroes known as the “wall and stars” have been tweeting their appreciation for the health workers, with Dr Lakhani saying their involvement has made them feel more part of an “action community”.

“Everybody gets involved. Kids are in the bushes with broomsticks, you walk through the doors and there’s a dancer, and that’s what we like about it. When I see a picture like that I immediately get that energy of being excited,” she said.

The superheroes also helped with the year-end vaccinations and are now hoping to help keep healthcare workers among Toronto’s extra kids up to date with their vaccinations too.

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