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Immunization is one of the most important advances in public health. Experts believe it has saved the lives of more Canadians over the past 50 years than any other health intervention.

Before vaccines became available, many Canadian children died from diseases like diphtheria, measles, and polio. These diseases can now be prevented by immunization.

Immunization protects individuals who receive vaccines. It also helps to prevent the spread of infection in the community which ultimately protects:

  • • infants who are too young to be vaccinated,
  • • people who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons (e.g. some people with weakened immune systems cannot receive some vaccines),
  • • people who may not get full protection from immunization (e.g. the elderly).

Here is an example of how vaccines have protected Canadians against Pertussis:

The first vaccine against Pertussis was introduced in 1942. Between 1938 and 1942, when the vaccine was introduced, about 1.5 Canadians in a thousand got sick with Pertussis. In the worst year of that 5 year period, about 20,000 Canadians got sick. Between 2007 and 2011, about 4 Canadians in 10,000 got sick with Pertussis. In the worst year of that five year period, 1961 Canadians got sick.

Celebrate National Immunization Awareness Week, which runs from April 26th to May 3rd, by getting your vaccination status updated by your health care provider or at Elgin St. Thomas Public Health. We offer clinics in Aylmer on the first Tuesday of the month and on Thursdays at our St. Thomas location. Call us or see our website for more details.


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