Tetanus and Diphtheria vaccinations will be available at a pair of upcoming clinics, as part of Immunization Week at the end of April.
On Wednesday, April 29, there will be an immunization clinic at McDonalds, running from 9-11 a.m., while Canadian Tire will host the next clinic on Thursday, April 30, from noon-2:30 p.m.
Diane Cameron, a public health nurse, says the vaccines are two of the most basic immunizations that have been used for many years.
“Tetanus is one of those things—and Diphtheria—that need to be boosted every 10 years for us to have our best protection,” Cameron said. “Even though we don’t see a lot of disease with those, it doesn’t mean those germs go away.”
Cameron says the tetanus bacteria lives in the soil, and that any time there is a dirty injury, such as a scrape or cut, there is potential for the bacteria to get into the body and cause disease.
“Any time you have a dirty injury, you have that opportunity for that tetanus germ to enter your body and cause disease,” Cameron said.
Diphtheria isn’t common, especially in Canada, but outbreaks can be mitigated by vaccination programs.
“They’re always there, they’re not eradicated like small pox has been eradicated; they’re always there,” Cameron said. “The higher level of what they call herd immunity keeps the general population healthy.”
Immunizations are available at the Public Health Unit, travel clinic and pharmacies, but the two clinics at McDonalds and Canadian Tire are also part of raising public awareness.
“We’re just trying to make ourselves a little more visible out in the community so that people are more familiar with the need to get that booster as an adult,” Cameron added.
While people like to think that vaccination records are kept, that sometimes isn’t the case. Cameron urges people to be aware of their vaccination record, and notes that there is a free app for smartphones available for download at www.immunizebc.ca that will keep track of your vaccinations.
“The basic thing with vaccines is they’re safe and they save lives. They’re a very tried and true way to protect family and communities,” Cameron said.
You start off by protecting yourself, but by protecting yourself, you protect your community and everybody around you—that’s what they mean when they talk about herd immunity.
“…It’s really important that people who are immunized keep track of their immunization record. They sometimes assume that they’re all connected but they aren’t.”