April 16, 2013 - 11:18 AM
In the last 50 years, immunization has saved more lives in Canada than any other health intervention. April 20 to 27 is National Immunization Awareness Week, and this year, Interior Health would like to remind you that we can all play an important role in stopping the spread of vaccine preventable diseases.
When most people are vaccinated for a disease, it makes it harder for that disease to spread from person to person. When people stop immunizing, diseases come back and that becomes especially risky for those who may be more vulnerable like young children, seniors, and people with certain medical conditions or compromised immune systems.
“This year we saw an increase in cases of whooping cough (pertussis) here in Interior Health and some parts of our province experienced significant outbreaks,” said Dr. Rob Parker, Medical Health Officer with Interior Health. “This is an important reminder that we need to keep our immunization rates high to help prevent outbreaks like this from happening.”
“Vaccines don’t just prevent diseases; they also reduce the possibility of serious complications or death associated with vaccine-preventable diseases. Mumps, measles, and rubella viruses can lead to potentially deadly complications like pneumonia and encephalitis. Whooping cough (pertussis) and meningitis C bacteria can cause brain damage or death,” explained Dr. Parker. “The main side effects associated with getting vaccines are minor and temporary, such as a sore arm or mild fever. The likelihood of having a serious side effect from a vaccine is extremely small. The benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks.”
Factual vaccine information can help people make informed decisions about their health and the health of their families. It is very important to make sure you get vaccine information from reliable and credible sources. The ImmunizeBC website www.immunizeBC.ca or your local public health nurse are excellent sources of information about vaccinations.
For more information:
Call your local public health centre. To find a health centre near you, use our online search tool http://www.interiorhealth.ca/FindUs/_layouts/FindUs/By.aspx?type=Location. Health centres are also listed under Health Authorities in the blue pages of your telephone directory.
Check the Interior Health website at: http://www.interiorhealth.ca/YourHealth/Immunization/Pages/default.aspx.
Visit ImmunizeBC’s website at: http://immunizebc.ca.
Read this article on evaluating vaccine information on the internet: http://immunize.ca/uploads/printed-material/imm_info_internet_2012_e.pdf.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013