I amm drawn to the topic of immunization for National Immunization Awareness Week, an annual event held in the last week of April. It's a chance to highlight the importance of routine immunizations and focus on accurate and up-to-date information and resources. It's also a good time to reflect on the fact that in the last 50 years, immunization has saved more lives than any other intervention.
Immunization is one of the best ways parents can ensure their children stay healthy and protected from certain vaccine-preventable diseases!
During the first two years of a child's life, they are very vulnerable and can be susceptible to many vaccine-preventable diseases. These diseases can have serious health consequences for many infants and young children. In some cases, they can be deadly. In BC, infants and young children aged 0-5 are given free vaccines that provide protection from the following diseases:
- Pertussis (whooping cough)
- Hepatitis B
- Haemophilus Influenza type B (Hib)
- Rubella (German Measles)
- Hepatitis A (for eligible individuals)
The current immunization schedule for infants and children in BC has infants starting with their first set of immunizations at two months of age followed by immunizations at four months, six months, 12 months, 18 months, and kindergarten entry.
For the best protection, it's recommended that parents follow the routine schedule and ensure all shots are given on time.
Here are six reasons from ImmunizeBC.ca why it's best to follow the routine schedule:
- The routine schedule is based on the best science of today.
- The routine schedule is safe and works very well.
- You will ensure your child is protected as soon as they can be.
- You will reduce your child's risk of anxiety and needle fear.
- The risk of side effects is the same whether vaccines are given together or separately.
- You will reduce the number of visits and time spent getting your child's shots.
In BC, parents can take their children to their local health unit for immunizations.