Immunization key in battle against disease in Greater Trail

Outbreaks of whooping cough and measles in Greater Trail are reminders of the importance of immunization in protecting people’s health

Recent outbreaks of whooping cough and measles in Greater Trail are reminders of the important role immunization plays in protecting people’s health, says the region’s medical health officer.

Dr. Rob Parker of the Interior Health Authority said people of all ages should endeavour to get themselves immunized during flu season, especially with this being National Immunization Awareness Week (until Saturday).

Immunization doesn’t just protect one person, it protects everyone they come in contact with, Dr. Parker said.

“When most people are vaccinated for a disease it makes it harder for that disease to spread from person to person,” he said.

High immunization rates help protect people who do not have adequate immunity or cannot be vaccinated due to a medical condition, Dr. Parker added.

When people stop immunizing, he said, diseases come back and that becomes especially risky for those who may be more vulnerable like young children, seniors and people with certain medical conditions or compromised immune systems.

The province has a comprehensive immunization program, recently adding a rotavirus vaccine, a varicella (chickenpox) booster, hepatitis A vaccine for Aboriginal children and expanding the HPV vaccine program to include young adult women.

“In order for vaccines to be most effective they need to be kept up to date,” Dr. Parker said. “Many childhood vaccines require booster shots.”

Call one of the Greater Trail public health centres to book an appointment for a vaccination.

To find a health centre near you use the online search tool at: http://www.interiorhealth.ca/FindUs/_layouts/FindUs/By.aspx?type=Location.

Health centres are also listed under “health authorities” in the blue pages of the telephone directory.