When people think about immunizations they often think of children; however, immunization is an important part of staying healthy for people of all ages. April 21 to 28 is National Immunization Awareness Week, and this year, Interior Health would like to remind you that immunizations help protect your world.
“Immunization doesn’t just protect you — it protects those around you,” says Dr. Rob Parker, medical health officer with Interior Health. “When most people are vaccinated for a disease it makes it harder for that disease to spread from person to person. Recent outbreaks of whooping cough (pertussis) and measles are close-to-home reminders of the important role immunization plays in protecting the health of ourselves, our children and our communities.”
High immunization rates help protect people who do not have adequate immunity or cannot be vaccinated due to a medical condition. 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.
B.C. has one of the most comprehensive immunization programs in Canada. Recent additions of rotavirus vaccine, a varicella (chickenpox) booster, hepatitis A vaccine for Aboriginal children and the expansion of the HPV vaccine program to include young adult women mean now even more diseases are easily preventable through immunization.
“Vaccinations are safe and effective and they help save lives,” Parker says. “In order for vaccines to be most effective they need to be kept up to date. Many childhood vaccines require booster shots and the timing of adult vaccinations will often depend on medical conditions, travel plans, or lifestyle and occupational issues that may put people at risk for certain diseases.”
For more information on immunizations, including a list of recommended vaccines for various age groups all 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. http://www.interiorhealth.ca/YourHealth/Immunization/Pages/default.aspx.
• Visit ImmunizeBC’s website at www.immunizebc.ca and look under the tab called Get Vaccinated.