Immunizations save lives and prevent illness by protecting individuals and communities from the spread of disease.
As more people are immunized, the disease risk for everyone is reduced. National Immunization Awareness Week runs from April 21-28 and is a great time to make sure that you and your loved ones are up to date with all the recommended vaccines. It’s free and easy to get all routine immunizations. Just call your local health centre to book an appointment. Some doctors and pharmacists may also provide some immunizations.
Vaccines are effective and safe. Vaccines trick your body into thinking that it is being attacked by a disease. Your body responds by making antibodies specific to the vaccine you received. These antibodies stay in your body and protect you from the disease if you are exposed to it in the future. It is much safer to get a vaccine than to get the disease. Most vaccine side effects, such as pain and swelling where the immunization was given, are mild and go away within a few days. The risks associated with vaccines are far fewer and less severe than those associated with the actual disease.
Not everyone can be immunized and not all who are immunized will respond adequately to the vaccine.
This may be due to a variety of reasons including age and medical conditions. This is why it is very important for everyone who can be vaccinated to do so. This helps to build a circle of protection around those who need it.
For more information talk to a public health nurse or your family doctor. Immunization information and a list of public health offices are available on our website http://www.interiorhealth.ca.
Public Health Offices are also listed under Health Authorities in the Blue Pages of your telephone directory.
There is also a wealth of immunization information on the ImmunizeBC website www.immunizebc.ca.
Joanne Smrek is a clinical resource co-ordinator of vaccine promotion/education with Interior Health.