Building Immunity is a Group Effort!
The bacteria and viruses responsible for vaccine-preventable diseases haven’t vanished just because the illnesses they can cause have become less common. Building immunity is a group effort! When vaccine coverage declines, diseases that vaccines help to prevent can come back. Make sure your family is protected with up-to-date immunizations.1
Back to School
Children and teens returning to school may face a higher risk of certain preventable diseases as they are likely to have close contact with their peers, sharing things from toys to drinks to lip gloss, and this can lead to the spread of various infectious diseases.
Invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) is a serious and fast-moving illness that affects primarily healthy children and teens. Between 200 and 300 young Canadians develop meningitis every year. Meningitis is spread by direct contact with saliva or mucous from the nose or throat of an infected person, for instance, via a sneeze or kiss.2
Did You Know?
There are several different meningococcal vaccines now available to protect children and teens against the various strains of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD). Routine childhood vaccinations include meningococcal C vaccine which targets serogroup C, which causes 30-50 per cent of meningococcal infections.2 To ensure that immunity remains high into adolescence, the Canadian Paediatric Society recommends that adolescents receive a booster dose of either Meningococcal C or the more recently approved Meningococcal C-ACWY, which is effective against all 4 vaccine-preventable strains.3
Atchoo! Fall is Flu Season
Every fall since the 1940s, Canadians have been rolling up their sleeves to receive their yearly vaccination against the flu. About 10 million doses of influenza vaccine are delivered to Canadians every year during the flu season. Influenza viruses can change from year to year, so vaccines are updated yearly to protect against the strains that are most likely to be circulating. Get your vaccination early in the flu season, ideally between October and December, or later if necessary. The influenza vaccine becomes effective within about two weeks of immunization.4
Planning a trip outside of Canada this winter? If so, now is the time to look into travel vaccines. Your destination and your health will both factor into your health care provider’s vaccine recommendations. Bear in mind that some vaccines take weeks, even months to become protective, so don’t leave immunizations until the last minute.
Some countries have specific vaccine requirements. Depending on your destination, some of the diseases you may require immunization for include chicken pox, cholera, diphtheria, German measles (rubella), Hepatitis A and B, influenza, measles, mumps, pneumococcal disease, polio, rabies, tetanus, typhoid, or whooping cough (pertussis), and yellow fever. Find out what’s required at your destination. Keep your family’s vaccination records in a safe place and carry copies when you travel. And have a safe and healthy holiday!
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This information should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your doctor. There may be variations in treatment that your physician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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- Communicating Effectively about Immunization - Part 1 - General Guidelines - Canadian Immunization Guide - Seventh Edition – 2006.
- It's Your Health - Meningococcal Vaccine. Health Canada, 2004.
- Meningococcal vaccine. CPS Infectious Diseases and Immunization Committee. Updated: October 2009.
- It's Your Health - Influenza (The 'Flu') [Health Canada, 2009]
- Vaccines for Travel - Travel Health - Public Health Agency of Canada