Immunization protects everyone

A submitted story from Interior Health.

Are your shots up to date? Have all the people in your family received their vaccinations? Immunization is an important part of staying healthy for people of all ages. April 23 to 30 was National Immunization Awareness Week, and this year, Interior Health reminds you to make sure everyone in your family is up-to-date with all the recommended vaccines.

“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 in our region of measles and whooping cough (pertussis), occurring among unimmunized individuals, are close-to-home reminders of why it’s important to keep our immunization rates high and why we should protect ourselves and our children.”

Getting immunized helps to create “herd immunity”, which means as the number of people who are immune to a disease grows, the chances of that disease spreading and infecting others drops. This helps protect people who do not have immunity or cannot be vaccinated due to a medical condition. If people stop immunizing, diseases can come back and that becomes especially risky for those who may be more vulnerable.

Keeping your shots up to date is important for people of all ages. In order for vaccinations to be most effective, infants and toddlers should be immunized at two, four, six, 12 and 18 months. School-aged children should receive vaccinations upon school entry (kindergarten) and in grade 6 and grade 9.  For adults, vaccinations and their timing will depend on a number of factors including medical conditions, travel plans, lifestyle and occupations that may put them at risk for certain diseases.

Immunization records are a valuable tool to help keep track of your vaccinations and make sure they are up to date.

“It’s important to keep immunization records in a secure location just like you would do with other important documents such as a passport,” says Joanne Smrek, Interior Health’s Clinical Resource Co-ordinator. “If you no longer have a copy of your vaccination record you can call your local public health office for assistance.”

Vaccinations are a safe, tried and true way to protect you, your family and your community from disease. For more information on immunizations including a list of recommended vaccines for various age groups:

Call your local public health office – a list of offices is available on our website  “http://www.interiorhealth.ca/centres.aspx” . Offices are also listed under Health Authorities in the Blue Pages of your telephone directory.

Check the Interior Health website – select the Choose Health tab, then Immunizations and then Vaccines – “http://www.interiorhealth.ca/choose-health.aspx?id=11552”.

Visit ImmunizeBC’ s website http://www.immunizebc.ca/default.htm and look under the tab called Vaccine Schedule.

 

Lesley Coates

Interior Health

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