Ontario Health Ministry Pledges To Provide Vaccinations for HIV-Positive Infants
The Ontario Health Ministry last week announced that it would fund pneumonia, meningitis and chicken pox vaccinations for HIV-positive infants born after Jan. 1, 2002, the CP/Hamilton Spectator reports. The program, which aims to protect infants from diseases to which HIV makes them particularly susceptible, will cost approximately $132,000 this year and about $66,000 annually for successive years, according to the government. AIDS advocates from the Canadian Treatment Action Council said that the program will cost less -- approximately $527 for each of Ontario's 110 HIV-positive infants, or a total of approximately $57,970 per year (Baillie, CP/Hamilton Spectator, 1/31). George Smitherman, a member of the legislature who raised the issue in December 2002, said that the government bowed to political pressure in light of the upcoming elections and "because we threatened to make it a political crisis" (Baillie, Canadian Press, 1/30). Ottawa Health and Long-Term Care Minister Tony Clement called on the Canadian federal government to "follow our lead to formulate a national immunization program to protect all children" (Government of Ontario release, 1/31).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.