Are you due for your immunization shots?

IHA encourages the public to think about being vaccinated during National Immunization Awareness Week

Are you up-to-date with immunizations?

Interior Health would like East Kootenay residents to stop and think about when they were last vaccinated this week, National Immunization Awareness Week, April 20-27.

For broader access to vaccinations, Interior Health nurses are offering a rather novel location for boosters on Wednesday, April 24: the Public Produce Garden in Cranbrook.

If you spend time in the garden, you may be in danger of contracting tetanus. The bacteria can be found in soil and transmitted through dirt.

Interior Health nurses will be offering free tetanus boosters Wednesday, April 24 at the Public Produce Garden, but the last day to sign up is Monday, April 22.

The nurses will have a tent set up, so the event will be going ahead rain or shine. To register call Terri or Charlotte at Interior Health at 250-420-2207.

Meanwhile, you can walk into the Public Health Unit in Cranbrook (beside the hospital) or Kimberley Health Centre (in Townsite) from Monday to Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., and a public health nurse will be available to give you immunization shots.

When most people are vaccinated for a disease, it makes it harder for that disease to spread from person to person. 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.

“This year we saw an increase in cases of whooping cough (pertussis) here in Interior Health and some parts of our province experienced significant outbreaks,” said Dr. Rob Parker, Medical Health Officer with Interior Health. “This is an important reminder that we need to keep our immunization rates high to help prevent outbreaks like this from happening.”

“Vaccines don’t just prevent diseases; they also reduce the possibility of serious complications or death associated with vaccine-preventable diseases. Mumps, measles, and rubella viruses can lead to potentially deadly complications like pneumonia and encephalitis. Whooping cough (pertussis) and meningitis C bacteria can cause brain damage or death,” explained Dr. Parker. “The main side effects associated with getting vaccines are minor and temporary, such as a sore arm or mild fever. The likelihood of having a serious side effect from a vaccine is extremely small. The benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks.”

Factual vaccine information can help people make informed decisions about their health and the health of their families. It is very important to make sure you get vaccine information from reliable and credible sources. The ImmunizeBC website or your local public health nurse are excellent sources of information about vaccinations.

For more information, contact Cranbrook Public Health Unit at 250-420-2207, or Kimberley Health Centre at 250-427-2215.