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Global News journalists win award for health reporting

A dose of the measles vaccine is shown in this file photo.
A dose of measles vaccine is seen at the Miami Children's Hospital on June 02, 2014 in Miami, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Two Global News online journalists have been honoured for their health reporting by the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario.

Patrick Cain and Carmen Chai won the RNAO Media Award for best online story for their March 2014 piece that mapped out vaccination rates at Toronto schools. This is the second year in a row that they’ve taken home the coveted award.

The feature also garnered a Canadian Medical Association award in 2014.

READ MORE: Which Toronto schools have the lowest measles vaccination rates?

Cain, a data journalist, tracked vaccination rates for every school in Toronto. The information was obtained exclusively by Global News under the Freedom of Information Act. The information was presented to readers with an interactive map so that they could plug in their postal code to find vaccination uptake in their neighbourhood or search for a specific school.

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The data pointed to a significant disparity in vaccination uptake across the city. Many schools were below the herd immunity rate of 95 per cent – the level at which, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada, there are enough people immunized to protect everyone.

Chai interviewed Toronto Public Health, federal health officials, researchers and parents to add context to the data.

“These journalists haven’t shied away from exploring difficult topics that have captured the public’s attention,” RNAO president, Vanessa Burkoski, said in a statement.

“It’s clear the winners demonstrate the ability of a high-functioning press, and the impact of a compelling story,” she said.

Cain and Chai will be honoured with other winners at the nurses’ association annual general meeting in Toronto on April 17. It’s the RNAO’s 90th anniversary.

See a full list of the winners here.