National Immunization Awareness Week

NEWS RELEASE: IMMUNIZATION PROTECTS EVERYONE.

National Immunization Awareness Week in Canada is April 23 to 30, 2011. April 19, 2011

(OTTAWA, ON) – As you grow, you don’t outgrow your need for immunization!

The Canadian Immunization Guide recommends immunization beginning as an infant and continuing through all stages of life. “Following a standard schedule ensures that the maximal achievable protection is achieved.” (CIG, p. 93)

“It is critically important that parents make sure their children receive all doses of the recommended vaccines. Otherwise they are at risk of some very serious diseases,” says Dr. Bonnie Henry, Chair of the Canadian Coalition for Immunization Awareness & Promotion (CCIAP). “Infants are particularly vulnerable to many diseases that vaccines prevent since they have not yet developed immunity to the bacteria and viruses that cause them. Immunization triggers their immune systems to be prepared to protect them from these serious diseases.

“Although receiving immunizations during childhood is critical, some vaccines will not provide lifelong immunity against some diseases such as Tetanus (lockjaw). Helper, or booster, shots are required to maintain immunity. For example, a Tetanus booster dose is recommended every ten years.

“Under-immunized adults are at risk of contracting diseases themselves –- they can also infect others. For example, adults who contract Measles, Mumps or Pertussis (whooping cough) can infect infants who may not yet be fully immunized. These are two good reasons for continuing to ensure your immunization record is up to date,” says Dr. Henry.

Whether you are a parent, grandparent or young adult with younger brothers and sisters, talk to your doctor, nurse, pharmacist or local public health office about being up to date on your immunizations.Immunization protects everyone. Protect yourself and the people around you.

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Backgrounder: National Immunization Awareness Week. Immunization is recognized as the most cost-effective public health approach to decreasing vaccine-preventable diseases in the Canadian population. For example, through universal publicly funded programs, child immunization against debilitating diseases, such as meningitis, invasive Pneumococcal Disease, Measles, and Polio, amongst others, is made possible. These programs promote healthy children and healthy communities. However, as public health authorities know all too well, the threats posed by infectious diseases, as recently seen with the H1N1 Influenza pandemic, continue to be an important risk. Vaccination is our best option — but during the H1N1 pandemic, only 40% of Canadians received the vaccine, despite the attention to H1N1 immunization programs across all provinces and territories. This shows we have work to do still to ensure Canadians have access to, and understand the value of, immunization.

National Immunization Awareness Week, April 23-30, 2011, reminds us of the importance of immunization to preserve the good health of our children, families and communities. Look for special events in your area, organized by your local public health office, clinic, hospital, pharmacy or workplace. Immunization experts will be available in all parts of Canada to comment on our most effective tool to prevent disease –- vaccines!

National Immunization Awareness Week in Canada coincides with Vaccination Week in the Americas, organized by the Pan American Health Organization, http://new.paho.org/hq/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4614&Itemid=3647 , and with European Immunization Week, http://www.euro.who.int/en/what-we-do/health-topics/disease-prevention/vaccines-and-immunization/european-immunization-week-2011 .

About the Canadian Coalition for Immunization Awareness & Promotion (CCIAP)
The Canadian Coalition for Immunization Awareness & Promotion (CCIAP) is a partnership of national non-governmental, professional health, consumer, and government organizations with the overall aim of increasing awareness about the benefits of immunization and promoting the understanding and use of vaccines as recommended by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI).

For national information, contact:
Lucie Marisa Bucci, Senior Manager
Canadian Coalition for Immunization Awareness & Promotion
(613) 725-3769, ext. 151
immunize@cpha.ca
immunize.ca