The recent measles outbreaks in Canada is a reminder that infectious diseases still pose a threat to public health.
Next week is National Immunization Awareness Week, and Immunize Canada is calling upon all Canadians to protect themselves and others by staying up to date with their immunizations.
As part of the occasion, next week, from Monday to Friday, April 28 to May 2, Interior Health Public Health Nurses are offering drop-in immunization clinics for adults at the Cranbrook Health Unit.
Immunize Canada issued a statement saying that both infants and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to many vaccine-preventable diseases and their complications.
“For example, infants who are too young to be fully immunized can become seriously ill if they come in contact with an under-immunized adult who is sick with even a mild case of an illness like pertussis.”
From 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., and through the lunch hour, adults can stop by the Cranbrook Health Unit at 20-23rd Avenue South (behind the East Kootenay Regional Hospital) and find out what their vaccination needs are.
“People need to have tetanus shots every 10 years,” said Public Health Nurse Pam Smith. “If they haven’t had that, or are uncertain of their vaccine history — if they need to get immunized for other things — we can have their immunizations reviewed and immunize whatever they are in need of.
“(These needs can include vaccinations for) tetanus and diptheria, perhaps people might be eligible for measles, mumps, rubella, for pneumococcyl immunizations, for meningylcoccyl immunizations — depending on health conditions, their employment, their previous vaccination history. All those things contribute to what they may need.”
Smith said that if you have your immunization history documents, it’s a good idea to bring them along to the clinic.
“If they don’t we can try to figure out based on verbal history what they may be in need of.”
Denise Talarico, a Public Health Nurse with Interior Health, wrote in a recent release that immunization is most effective when more members of the population or “herd” are immunized.
“High immunization rates keep diseases away. When parents decide not to immunize their children, herd immunity is weakened. Once herd immunity dwindles, diseases can resurface, even in developed countries.
“In the last couple of years we have seen pertussis outbreaks in some of our communities and parts of our province are currently experiencing a measles outbreak,” Talarico wrote.
“Both these diseases can have serious consequences, yet the risk of serious complications from the vaccines is extremely low.”
For more information, check out ImmunizeBC at http://www.immunizebc.ca.