Canada Launches Immunization App Aimed At Boosting Vaccination Rates


After a successful year-long pilot test in Ottawa, Canada, the Canadian government is expanding accessibility to its new electronic vaccination record app to citizens across the entire country. The app was designed by Dr. Kumanan Wilson, a professor and researcher at the University of Ottawa’s Faulty of Medicine, and was then coded with help from a team of computer and electrical engineering students.

The final product, called ImmunizationCA, is an enhanced version of Dr. Kumanan’s original app, and will be rolled out through a partnership between the Canadian Public Health Association, Immunize Canada, and The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute.

Inspired by both a growing anti-vaccination movement, and a highly-publicized recent measles outbreak that spread across Canada, the app attempts to improve vaccination rates in Canada while simultaneously disseminating credible information about the science behind vaccines in an interactive format.

The underpinnings of the app are built around a simple vaccination record, essentially an electronic copy of the yellow vaccine booklets that many remember tracking immunizations with for decades. The app allows parents to track compliance against federal and locally recommended immunization schedules. To help keep families on track, the app sends   vaccination reminders, and even appointment reminders, when any member of the family is past due for a particular vaccine.

To further help bolster immunization rates, the app has been integrated with outbreak tracking centers that will push alerts and text messages to geographically at-risk populations based on up-to-date outbreak information in an attempt to use real-time population health data in the fight to bolster local vaccination rates and slow the spread of communicable diseases.

Should users still feel reluctant about vaccinating themselves or their children, the app delivers embedded educational material about the vaccines, providing parents a way of reading credible, scientifically vetted information on the risks and benefits associated with each vaccination.

It’s unlikely that an app will a significant impact on growing anti-vaccination trends, but it will help remind everyday parents about overdue vaccinations, and provide a mechanism for alerting the public when they fall within an outbreak area, both of which could help to bolster overall vaccination rates in Canada.

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