Submitted. In advance of World Immunization Awareness Week, Fraser Health is reminding the public about the importance of ensuring immunizations of both adults and children are up-to-date. World Immunization Awareness Week aims to promote one of the world’s most powerful tools for health – the use of vaccines to protect, or “immunize”, people of all ages against disease.
Immunizations work by introducing a small amount of a weakened or dead disease germ into the body; these cause the body to build antibodies to fight the germ, which creates immunity from the disease itself. The only other way the body can make antibodies to ward off disease is by actually suffering from the illness itself, which is far more dangerous than receiving a vaccine. Contrary to common misconception, vaccines do not cause illness or death. They are developed in accordance with the highest standards and are continually monitored for safety and effectiveness.
“Vaccines are one of the most effective ways for people of all ages to protect themselves against serious illness and the spread of disease. Without them, the public is vulnerable to life-threatening illnesses that often have no medical treatments. It is vital to protect yourself and your family from the risk of serious illness, disability or even death by getting vaccinated.” –
Dr. Paul VanBuynder, Vice President, Public Health and Chief Medical Health Officer, Fraser Health
According to the World Health Organization, immunization is one of the most successful and cost-effective health interventions that prevent people from acquiring diseases that can cause serious illness, disability or even death. One hundred years ago, infectious diseases were the leading cause of death worldwide. In Canada, they now cause less than 5% of all deaths – thanks to immunization programs across the country. However, vaccine-preventable diseases do still exist in other parts of the world and can be brought into Canada through travel. Therefore, it is vital for all people to ensure their immunizations are up-to-date. Although antibodies remain with us for many years, our bodies sometimes require helper – or booster – shots, to remind the system how to fight off a particular germ. For instance, a Tetanus booster is required every 10 years.
Immunization saves lives. Protect yourself and the people around you. Make sure immunizations are up-to-date for you and your family. Contact your family physician or your local public health unit.
About Fraser Health
Fraser Health provides a wide range of integrated health services to the largest and fastest growing population in B.C. The health authority is committed to improving the health of the population and the quality of life of more than 1.7 million people living in communities from Burnaby to White Rock to Hope.