EOHU Reminds of the Importance of Routine Immunizations Amid Increase in Pertussis Cases


The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) is alerting the public about a concerning increase in cases of pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, in the region. The rise in cases underscores the importance of the public being up to date with their routine vaccinations, including the pertussis vaccine.

Pertussis is a highly contagious respiratory disease that usually begins with a runny nose and mild fever, but symptoms progressively worsen to severe coughing fits, which can cause vomiting in the most extreme cases. The disease spreads through droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneeze and is particularly dangerous for infants under the age of one and pregnant individuals.

Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent the spread of pertussis. According to Ontario’s routine immunization schedule, individuals should get vaccinated against pertussis multiple times throughout their lives to ensure they remain protected against the disease:

  • During childhood: infants at 2, 4, 6 and 18 months (4 doses) and one dose between 4 and 6 years old
  • Teenagers: booster dose once between 14 and 16 years old
  • Adults: booster dose once in adulthood (before age 65) and once in every pregnancy

"The recent rise in pertussis cases is a stark reminder of the importance of maintaining high vaccination coverage in our community,” says Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health at the EOHU. “Vaccines are safe, effective, and essential for protecting children and other individuals who may be at higher risk from preventable diseases."

Many children have fallen behind on their routine vaccinations due to the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is important for parents and guardians to ensure their children are fully vaccinated according to Ontario’s routine immunization schedule.

If you or a family member are not up to date on your vaccinations, please contact your health care provider to receive missing immunizations. Residents without a health care provider can receive their routine immunizations at the EOHU.

For more information or to schedule a vaccination appointment, please contact the Eastern Ontario Health Unit at 613-933-1375 or 1-800-267-7120 or visit our website at