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Protect Your World – Get Immunized

Apr 17, 2013
Over the past 50 years, immunizations have saved more lives in Canada than any other known health intervention.

Over the past 50 years, immunizations have saved more lives in Canada than any other known health intervention. It is hard to believe that just a century ago, one out of every 10 Canadian children died within a year of being born, the majority of these deaths caused by infectious diseases. Immunization has played a significant part in improving this situation, with less than five per cent of deaths now caused by infectious diseases in Canada. National Immunization Awareness Week (NIAW), which runs April 20-27, strives to promote and encourage one of the most powerful tools in protecting individuals and their communities against disease – vaccines.

Getting immunized is the safest and most effective way for people to protect themselves against vaccine preventable diseases. Vaccines not only protect the individual, but also protect communities from the spread of disease. As more people are immunized, the risk of disease is reduced for everyone.

Childhood immunizations provide long-term protection against diseases such as diphtheria, measles, pertussis (whooping cough), pneumonia, polio, rotavirus diarrhea, rubella and tetanus, to name a few. People also benefit from immunizations at other life stages, such as protection from meningitis, hepatitis B, and cervical cancer in adolescence and beyond, and influenza, tetanus, and pertussis for adults of all ages, as well as pneumonia in older adults.

The risks associated with vaccines are many times lower than the consequences of the diseases they prevent. Some people get a mild fever or soreness at the injection site after they receive a vaccine. These reactions can be part of the body’s normal response to the vaccine and do not usually last long. Severe reactions are very rare. While it is good to consider the risks of getting immunized, like any other preventive or curative measure, it is equally important to consider the risks of not getting immunized.

Many parents research immunization as they want to ensure their children are healthy and kept safe. The health unit encourages everyone to seek credible sources of information regarding the benefits, safety and effectiveness of vaccines. While the internet provides a wide variety of information, some of it excellent, it is always important to look at the source.

To help weigh the benefits and risks of immunization, check out our Immunization HealthSTATS Report at
simcoemuskokahealthstats.org.  For more information about the importance of immunizations, visit simcoemuskokahealth.org or call Your Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and speak with a public health nurse.

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


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