Public Notice - Operations Adjusted to add Measles Vaccination Capacity in Yellowknife

Public Notice

(Yellowknife, March 15, 2024) The NTHSSA is advising residents that Yellowknife Public Health is adjusting operations to meet increased demand for measles vaccination appointments, prompted by a recent Measles Alert issued by the NWT’s Chief Public Health Officer.

To accommodate this demand, routine booked appointments at Yellowknife Public Health may be rescheduled; any impacted person will be contacted with details.

Residents in Yellowknife can book vaccination appointments by calling Public Health at 867-767-9120.

Residents in any other community may contact their health centre or public health unit to determine eligibility and book a vaccine appointment.


Questions and Answers about measles:

Q: Who is eligible to get vaccinated?

All infants (12 months and older), children and adolescents should receive 2 doses of measles-containing vaccine.  This is routinely given at 12 and 18 months of age, but we know some children may not have received all doses and need to catch-up.

As this is a time of increased travel out of the territory, and as there is increased risk of measles internationally as well as in other parts of Canada, individuals who are traveling out of territory should review their vaccine records and receive a dose, as needed, before traveling:

  • Adults born on or after 1970 traveling outside NWT should have 2 doses of measles-containing vaccine in their lifetime. Most individuals born after 1996 would have received two doses in childhood, and others in a high-risk group (e.g., healthcare workers, military) would have also received two doses.  If you were born between 1970 and 1996, and only had one dose in childhood, you are recommended to get a second dose before travel.
  • For infants between 6 months and 11 months traveling to an outbreak situation (including in Canada).  An early dose may be recommended pre-travel depending on risk of travel. These infants will still require two doses of vaccine after their first birthday.
  • Adults born before 1970 are likely to have had measles infection in childhood.  If you traveling outside NWT and have not been infected, or previously vaccinated, you are recommended to receive a single dose prior to travel. 

 

Q: How early can I have my child vaccinated for measles?

Measles vaccination is not available for children under age 6 months. To help protect them, have household members and caregivers get up to date on measles vaccination. The primary series for measles vaccination is given at age 12 and 18 months in the NWT (insert link here). Children aged 6-11 months who are travelling and may be exposed to measles during travel, may have a dose of measles vaccine before travel to offer protection while traveling.  They will still need to have the routine two doses after their first birthday.  To discuss pre-travel vaccination for your child aged 6-11 months, call your local health centre or public health unit.

Q: Who should not get a measles vaccine?

The measles vaccine is a live virus vaccine, and cannot be given to:

  • Infants less than 6 months old;
  • Pregnant individuals;
  • Individuals who are immunocompromised

Q: How do I get my vaccine record?

Contact the health centre or public health unit in the community you received your childhood vaccinations. If you received vaccinations at multiple locations during your life, you may need to contact all of these locations.

Q: I have checked my vaccine record, and I need a measles vaccine. How do I book this?

Contact your local health centre or public health unit to book an appointment.

Q: Why is measles vaccination so important?

Measles is a highly infectious respiratory disease and spreads quickly to non-immune individuals. For those who are not immune to measles, and who are returning from southern locations after March break, be cautious to monitor for symptoms and contact your health care provider as soon as possible if you have symptoms that might be measles. Some individuals have complications with measles disease, such as ear infections, pneumonia, infections of the brain, and in severe cases measles infection can lead to death.

Q: What are the symptoms of measles and what do I monitor for?

 Early symptoms of measles includes:

  • Fever
  • Dry cough
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Inflamed eyes (conjunctivitis)
  • White spots inside the mouth, on the lining of the cheeks and lips

About three days after these early symptoms, you will see a skin rash made up of large, flat blotches, which starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body that lasts 4-7 days.

If you are concerned about having symptoms of measles, stay isolated in your home and call 811 to review your symptoms with a registered nurse, or reach out to your health care provider as soon as possible for further advice.

Q: How long do I monitor for symptoms?

Measles signs and symptoms appear on average 10 to 14 days after exposure to the virus, but can appear as long as 21 days after being exposed. If you have recently traveled, you should be aware for symptoms for three weeks after you return.  If you are concerned about having symptoms of measles, stay isolated in your home and call your health care provider as soon as possible for further advice.

Q: Where can I get more information about measles?

If you have general questions about measles or the measles vaccine, you can call 811 to speak with a registered nurse.  Please do not call 811 regarding immunization records. Contact the health centre or public health unit in the community you received your childhood vaccinations.