Toronto hospital professionals team up to try to quell fears of viral threat

At-risk children have been vaccinated after a strain of the virus was detected in New York, sparking fears it could travel to Canada

The Greater Toronto and Region Centre Paediatric Advisory Committee has launched a team of superheroes to quell fears an incurable virus might bring it from the States to Canada.

The powerful unit is made up of doctors, doctors’ assistants, nurses and high school students, as well as a Q-4 independent contractor and volunteers from Doctors of Banting and Best.

The superheroes were called in after officials in New York said they were concerned a type of avian influenza virus called CoVID-19 could infect the at-risk children of the city, sparking fears it might spread northwards.

They flew out to meet the Pediatric Emergency Department advisory committee members and were presented with weapons to combat the threat of the virus – their superhero identities.

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The group arrived in the region’s east of the city at 8am on Wednesday and held a meeting with ministers, judges and local councillors to ensure that children born this year were up to date with vaccination and epidemiologists met with councillors, as well as local health authorities to ensure “every child born here this year will have had the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine before school starts,” according to a statement.

They then left for the George Brown school district, where 50% of children were not up to date with the vaccine, where they vaccinated all the at-risk children ahead of the new school year.

The panicking caused by the potential origin of the virus has resulted in some parents not following current advice to vaccinate their children at an earlier age.

Leading up to the latest campaign by Toronto, officials made another meeting with local high schools to make sure that health officials were informed of the demands of the upcoming school year to ensure children be up to date with vaccination.

“Toronto – especially the children born in 2016 – require a recent and extensive vaccination regimen,” the committee said in a statement.

The superheroes arrived in their superhero outfits at a meeting in Hamilton, Ontario’s north, to provide the region’s educators with information on the vaccine, offering support and encouragement in a bid to keep children and staff safe from possible outbreaks of the virus.

School staff were also reminded to understand the importance of promoting an immunization campaign, using talk therapy and combining the vaccination with PE lessons.

Parents had also been encouraged to partner with GTR&R in spreading the message about the importance of having their children vaccinated.

While concern that the virus would infect young children has not been confirmed, officials had issued concerns about whether an outbreak would be caught with children who had not received the current Pap smears in relation to them, not having taken up a vaccination.

The move by Toronto, which has just east of 100,000 children, has also led parents in Guelph, Ontario, to break ranks and vaccinate their children anyway, in the event that it happens, particularly if the hospital alerted them before the cancer specialist’s visit.

“I will vaccinate my little girl no matter what she asks me to do. The best part is she thinks it’s really cool and wants to get it done,” Robyn Gordon, a 47-year-old optometrist in Guelph told the Guelph Mercury.

The city’s coroner, Dr. Spencer Beck, offered up his support, cautioning patients who had been considering delaying the HPV vaccination or opting for a Pap smear follow up appointment in order to protect against this type of virus.

“As a clinical specialist, and one who has heard so many heartfelt and personal reasons given for not having been vaccinated for HPV, I understand and appreciate the desire for vaccines to protect the most vulnerable among us. These are the adults who need to do the most to prevent this virus from spreading, and they know it,” he wrote in a community letter on Wednesday.

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