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Ottawa-made app makes tracking immunization easier

Recent outbreaks of the measles in Canada have public health officials warning parents to keep better track of their immunization records so they can stay on top of the schedule.

Luckily there's a new app called ImmunizeCA designed to help with just that.

The app is meant to complement the yellow tracking cards used now to keep track of each booster shot. These are often stored in a safe place at home and aren't as readily available as a person's cell phone in an emergency.

ImmunizeCA helps parents input immunizations into their phones after they've been delivered to their child and alerts them to when the next shot is needed.

"Once you put your birth date in it knows what the schedule is so it will tell you at two months that you're on time for vaccination. Or, when you put your tetanus vaccine shot in it will know when it's ten years later," said Dr. Kumanan Wilson.

"There's actually a status section in the app that tells you when your next vaccine is due, whether you've got your flu shot this year and when you got your last tetanus shot," he said.

Wilson conceived of the app that was developed by a McGill student.

He said the app also uses push notifications and banner ads to notify people of current outbreaks and emergencies. The Public Health Agency of Canada provides that information.

He said as people become busier it's essential they find a way to manage these immunizations because there are greater risks of developing infectious diseases.

"With these measles outbreaks, if you delay or if you miss a vaccination, your child could be at risk with these outbreaks occurring," he said.

"In the past we could say, you know, 'I'm benefiting from herd immunity, everyone else is vaccinated,' but that's not the case anymore. So, it's important that they get vaccinated on time," said Wilson.

The app is available for free on iPhone and Android and is in development for BlackBerry.

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