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The importance of immunization - Reaping the benefits of vaccines

May 02, 2012
While very few people enjoy getting needles, the vaccines delivered are an important part of protecting your health, your family’s health and the overall health of your community.

While very few people enjoy getting needles, the vaccines delivered are an important part of protecting your health, your family’s health and the overall health of your community.  On the heels of National Immunization Awareness Week (NIAW), we are reminded of how important immunization is for people of all ages and of the role vaccines continue to play in lessening the impact of infectious diseases in our communities and around the world.

Our world truly is global and infectious disease outbreaks do affect everyone.  This is why the World Health Organization (WHO) created World Immunization Week, which coincides with NIAW here in Canada. The WHO’s goal is to unite countries from around the world for a week of vaccination campaigns, public education and information sharing.

This worldwide collaboration provides an opportunity to boost momentum and focus on specific actions, including:

  • raising awareness on how immunization saves lives;
  • increasing vaccination coverage to prevent disease outbreaks;
  • reaching underserved and marginalized communities with existing and newly available vaccines;
  • and, of course, reinforcing the benefits of immunization.

Ironically, the fact that immunization has made many infectious diseases uncommon in developed countries has led some to believe that immunization is no longer necessary.  However, vaccine-preventable diseases do still occur in Canada, because not everyone is receiving all the vaccines that are recommended by their health care providers, and also in part due to global travel.  In support of immunization awareness in our local communities the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit published a report on immunization for parents of young children and youth. 

This report explains the importance of immunization, while also addressing concerns that parents may have about the safety of vaccines.  Monitoring vaccine safety is an important part of all Canadian immunization programs. The vast majority of parents in Simcoe Muskoka get their children immunized, and they agree that vaccines are not only important, but also a safe and effective way of protecting their child’s health. 

The health unit encourages all parents to seek credible sources of information regarding the benefits, safety and effectiveness of immunization and vaccines.  The full immunization report can be found under the Focus Report section of the health unit’s HealthSTATS website at www.simcoemuskokahealthstats.org

For more information and advice on immunizations call Your Health Connection Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 705-721-7520 (1-877-721-7520) and speak with a nurse or check the website at www.simcoemuskokahealth.org.

 

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 Dr. Lee is one of Simcoe Muskoka’s associate medical officers of health.


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