Vaccines: the science of prevention
Vaccines play a key role early on in our lives. As children, our parents cuddled us reassuringly as we received a quick injection at the pediatrician’s, desperate to distract us from impending pain. There may have also been promises of ice cream in exchange for avoiding the inevitable tantrum that would far surpass the time spent in the doctor’s care. All jokes aside, though, in our first months and years of life, vaccines contributed to ensuring our likelihood of infant survival.
Back to the beginning: understanding vaccines
Vaccines help our immune systems block potential attacks from diseases. This is where the science works its magic: tucked deep inside the folds of these vials lay traces of the disease itself, treated so it cannot be transmitted. Doing this equips the body to now recognize the intruder; with that one vaccine, it develops a powerful toolkit to build its own immunity against possible future invasions. The result? An estimated three million deaths across the world are prevented through vaccinations every year1.
The immunization landscape in Canada
Administering vaccines contributes to the protection against diseases that were once considered serious, avoiding severe pain, discomfort, long-term disability, even death. Infectious diseases should be a thing of the past for Canadians: what used to be the leading causes of death in the world is now only five percent of all deaths in the country2. Immunization has even contributed to saving more lives in the last 50 years than any other health improvement in human history. The other side of the coin is that Canada has also seen an upswing in vaccine-preventable infectious disease cases, and not by a negligible amount either – up 30% between 2004 and 20153.
Vaccine safety in Canada
One of Canada’s greatest prides is its public health system. Providing accessible health care to its citizens has significantly contributed to the prevention of infectious diseases across the country. To make sure you’re up to date with your vaccines, it’s important to consult your medical doctor, nurse or health practitioner.
Vaccinations in Canada are safe and effective: before they’re even cleared by Health Canada, they require rigorous testing and proof of effectiveness. Getting a vaccine to market – from research, to development, to pre-clinical testing, to clinical testing, and finally to regulatory approval – can last almost a decade, depending on the virus or bacteria. As soon as new vaccines are made available to the public, they are persistently monitored for quality control. While its effectiveness can’t be 100% guaranteed, the risk of things going awry in patients is incredibly rare – so rare that it’s challenging to even track the occurrence of unwanted events4. Most recipients can expect lifelong (or at least long-term) immunization for the price of only a few seconds of discomfort, and maybe short-term soreness at the injection site… A worthy trade-off at every age and stage of life!
Looking to the future
Talk your doctor today about what immunizations you may need and visit Vaccines411.ca to find the nearest vaccinating flu clinic. Practice “herd immunity” by becoming an immunization ambassador for your family and friends. Encourage them to stay updated on their vaccinations and hold them accountable5. With global life expectancy numbers raising globally, vaccinations are undeniable factors for longevity; there is so much more to lose by ignoring its potential to protect us.
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.
Note: the hyperlinks that direct to other sites are not continuously updated. It is possible that some links become untraceable over time. Thank you.
- World Health Organization (WHO). Immunization. 2019.
- Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA). Vaccination. 2020.
- Global News. Who’s really to blame for Canada’s falling vaccination rates? It’s not just anti-vaxxers, report says. 2017.
- World Health Organization. Six common misconceptions about immunization. 2020.
- Montréal en Santé. Herd Immunity: Be Part of the Solution. 2020.