Starting today, Toronto Public Health (TPH) has expanded access to free Meningococcal vaccine for eligible Toronto residents between ages 20 and 36. Bookings for Meningococcal vaccines at the City of Toronto’s six fixed-site immunization clinics can now be made for appointments starting on Wednesday, October 12 on the TPH’s booking system.
Tomorrow, Friday, October 7, TPH is also hosting pop-up clinics at six secondary schools in the city where it will provide three school-based vaccines: Meningococcal, Human Papillomavirus and Hepatitis B. The clinics will be held from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for students in grades 7 to 12. More information can be found on the City’s COVID-19: Pop-Up Immunization Clinics webpage.
In recent weeks, TPH identified serious cases of meningococcal C infection among young adults who were not vaccinated. These cases highlight the need to keep up-to-date with recommended vaccinations to protect against ongoing risk of infection. Meningococcal disease is a rare infectious disease that can cause severe illnesses that can be deadly.
City-run immunization clinics
TPH encourages Toronto residents in their twenties and thirties to check their vaccination records to confirm if they have received a Meningococcal vaccine, most commonly received in grade 7 or 8 as part of the school vaccination program. Eligible individuals who have not received a Meningococcal vaccine, including newcomers from countries that do not provide publicly-funded Meningococcal vaccination, should contact their healthcare provider or attend a TPH clinic to be vaccinated as soon as possible.
Eligible residents between the ages of 20 to 36 can receive publicly-funded Meningococcal vaccine at all of the City’s six fixed-site immunization clinics by booking an appointment through TPH’s booking system. A health card is not required. ID is needed to prove your age. City-run immunization clinics are easily accessible by transit and offer free parking on-site.
Meningococcal disease is a rare infectious disease caused by Neisseria meningitides bacteria. It can affect people of any age. The bacteria is carried in the throat or nose and is spread through close, direct contact between people sharing respiratory or throat secretions (saliva or spit). Common ways are kissing, sharing drinks and straws, or sharing cigarettes and vapes. Generally, it takes close or lengthy contact to spread the bacteria. In rare instances, the bacteria can cause severe illnesses that can be deadly.
People who are sick with meningococcal disease may show symptoms between 2 and 10 days after exposure. These symptoms may include the sudden onset of high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, drowsiness or confusion, nausea and vomiting, a rash (purplish) that spreads quickly, seizures, and/or irritability or fussiness. Severe cases can result in hallucination and coma and, if untreated, can lead to death.
Anyone who develops symptoms within 10 days of last seeing a person with meningococcal disease should see a healthcare provider right away. More information about Meningococcal disease can be found at the City’s Meningococcal Disease webpage.
Students in grades 7 and 8 continue to be able to receive free Meningococcal vaccines (that prevent meningitis), Human Papillomavirus vaccines (that prevent cancers) and Hepatitis B vaccines (that prevent liver disease and cancer) to December 2022 at their schools through the #VAXToClass campaign.
Students in grades 9 to 12 who did not receive their Meningococcal, Human Papillomavirus and Hepatitis B vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic can also receive them at all of the City’s six fixed-site immunization clinics. A health card is not required. Appointments for these school-based vaccines can be booked through TPH’s booking system.
Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit the City’s website or follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.