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- Immunization and Vaccines
Immunization and Vaccines
When you get vaccinated, you make your body stronger and more resistant to disease. No matter how healthy you are, you could get very sick or even die without vaccines to protect you.
When you get vaccines, you protect everyone else around you, too. This includes our most vulnerable people, like very young children and people who are sick or aging.
| How Vaccines Work
Vaccines work with the body’s natural defenses to develop protection against disease.
The main components in all vaccines are antigens. Once in the body, antigens cause the immune system to react by creating:
This process helps destroy specific germs that could make you or your child sick. Being vaccinated will prevent the disease or lessen its impact.
|How Vaccines are Given
Most vaccines are given by a needle in the upper arm or thigh. Some vaccines, like the rotavirus vaccine, are given by mouth. There’s also a flu vaccine for children that are sprayed into the nose.
Some vaccines are given separately. Others, like the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine, protect against three diseases in one vaccine.
|Effectiveness and Safety
Routinely provided vaccines currently available in Canada can protect you or your child against 15 serious diseases. Most of these vaccines provide over 90% protection against the disease.
Vaccines are safe, but like any medication or supplement, they can have possible side effects.
Community immunity and disease prevention
The more people who are vaccinated in the community, the lower the risk of infection for those who:
This means that when your child is vaccinated, you protect them as well as those around them.
Community immunity helps protect those at high risk of developing disease and severe complications or death, such as:
Why we need vaccines
Vaccines have successfully lowered the rates of disease in countries with strong vaccination programs.
Some of the diseases that vaccines prevent (like measles, mumps and polio) have no treatment or cure. These diseases can cause:
Even with improved living conditions and modern hygiene, vaccines are still very important to prevent infections that could make you or your child very sick.
Vaccines used in Canada are safe and effective. They are developed to meet the highest standards and are continually monitored for safety and effectiveness.
On average, it takes about 10 years of research and development before a vaccine is considered for approval by Health Canada. Following approval, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization and recommends how the vaccine should be used.
|Vaccines in Pregnancy
Vaccinations during pregnancy protect both you and your developing baby from serious infections. They also help protect infants after birth, when they’re too young to be vaccinated.
Talk to your health care provider or local public health authority about making sure your vaccines are up to date.
When travelling outside Canada, you may be at risk for a number of vaccine-preventable illnesses. You should consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.
Use the reference found here to determine which vaccinations may be recommended or required for your destination.
2 doses are required for school attendance (see 4-6 years, below); must be given on or after the 1st birthday and at least 28 days apart Must be given on or after the 1st birthday *The second dose of MMR is usually given in combination with the second recommended dose of varicella at 4-6 years Routine Publicly Funded Vaccine Schedule for Healthy Children — PDF
2 doses are required for school attendance (see 4-6 years, below); must be given on or after the 1st birthday and at least 28 days apart
Must be given on or after the 1st birthday
*The second dose of MMR is usually given in combination with the second recommended dose of varicella at 4-6 years
Routine Publicly Funded Vaccine Schedule for Healthy Children — PDF
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