In a first, Canadian health authorities approve new travel vaccination policy

Image copyright Jason Frary Image caption Dr. Raymond Grandet welcomes Canada’s decision

Canada’s top medical authority has decided that all kinds of vaccinations are safe enough to be used in travellers.

The decision covers travellers to countries that do not have a protocol for certifying them.

In November 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) introduced new measures aimed at improving safety and standardising the regimes in countries.

It said that all countries should have a programme in place for vaccinating travellers against diseases which can cause serious illness.

Dr Raymond Grandet, president of the Canadian Medical Association, said he is “extremely pleased” that the Canadian authorities have moved quickly to ensure that “abnormal illness” will no longer be a risk to travellers.

Image copyright Alamy Image caption Countries use different vaccinations to combat different diseases

“Because of this policy, we can leave no one behind,” he added.

Canada previously said that it was probably only to the delay until now because it did not have the resources to arrange and certify vaccinations for all travellers.

The country’s public health department will now be able to give experts guidance in making the best decisions for travellers, since those experts will have received routine training.

The agency will also provide regular updates to its international partners on the progress of the new medical protocol.

“We believe the Canadian strategy will be a crucial tool for countries to get in the business of providing essential vaccines for a healthier world,” says Dr Mario Raviglione, WHO’s director of the global vaccine programme.

The new plan

Image copyright Canadian Medical Association Image caption Dr Raymond Grandet says it is a “net gain”

A number of the countries which are at risk of outbreaks in the event of international travel have already welcomed the Canadian expansion, says the WHO.

Countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America that accepted WHO’s recommendations say they welcome the move.

They say it will help them keep pace with evolving and new outbreaks.

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In 2017, Canadian authorities rejected a petition from parents calling for public debate about vaccinations.

They have also come under fire recently for the number of people who died and were infected from viral gastroenteritis. The bug causes diarrhoea, vomiting and abdominal cramps.

Dr. Grandet said that it is “positive” that the “modest expansion” means that families will be able to decide for themselves whether their children should be vaccinated.

“Given the need to save lives of vulnerable children with severe illness and prevent spreading of infectious diseases, the protection of all children requires certain minimum measures,” he added.

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