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Celebrating Moms, Celebrating Babies

Mother’s Day! It’s the perfect occasion to celebrate life with your baby. Take joy and satisfaction in your ability to nurture and care for this new life. Motherhood is a privilege as well as a heartfelt responsibility. That is why you will want to be fully informed about immunization. While voluntary in Quebec, vaccinations are a safe and effective way to protect your baby against a variety of troublesome and serious diseases.

Vaccinations help our bodies fight vaccine-preventable diseases by preparing the immune system so that it can recognize these harmful organisms and respond quickly when we are exposed to them, before a significant infection develops.

Rotavirus is a one example of a common, contagious illness that is easily and painlessly prevented with a few doses of a liquid vaccine. Rotavirus causes vomiting, profuse watery diarrhea, and fever which may last for up to a week – symptoms may be mild or severe. Babies under the age of 2 years are at greatest risk for this common gastrointestinal illness, which sends 15% of affected Canadian children to the emergency department, primarily due to dehydration and related complications.

Now for the good news!

Quebec is among four provinces in Canada that funds the rotavirus vaccine, and for the past several years, the Canadian Pediatric Society has advocated for coverage across the country. It makes sense when you consider that rotavirus is easily transmitted within a household, causing diarrhea in at least one other family member in about half of rotavirus cases.

Since the United States promoted nation-wide vaccination for rotavirus, more than 80% of young children have been vaccinated. This broad coverage has provided a surprising benefit in older unvaccinated children, who have also had a significant decrease in rotavirus-related illness. Overall, the rates of health care use for rotavirus gastroenteritis in the U.S. have fallen between 92 and 96 per cent. This effect is known as herd immunity.

In Canada, it is estimated that if all babies were vaccinated against rotavirus, about 33,000 physician visits would be avoided annually, as would be 15,000 emergency department visits and up to 5,000 hospitalizations. Remember, group protection begins with you and your baby.

When and where should you get your child vaccinated?

It is recommended that babies (even those born prematurely) have their first vaccinations at the age of 2 months and continue according to the regular schedule. Childhood immunizations have significantly reduced the rates of some serious diseases, and saved many lives. Rotavirus vaccines are recommended for infants starting at 6 weeks and up to 15 weeks (14 weeks plus 6 days). Vaccinations are provided to children free-of-charge at any local community service centre (CLSC), and you can continue to take your child to the doctor for regular checkups.

Here is the vaccination schedule from the Institut national de santé publique du Québec. www.inspq.qc.ca/tinytot


Brought to you by vaccines411.ca – know where to go for your vaccinations.

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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