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News Release

Health Department recognizes National Immunization Awareness Week

WHITBY, ON April 13, 2017

In recognition of National Immunization Awareness Week, taking place from April 22 to 29, Durham Region Health Department is highlighting the importance and success of vaccination worldwide and reminding residents about the importance of immunization, not only for each individual person, but for those around them as well.

When enough people in a community have been vaccinated against a contagious disease, it greatly reduces the spread of the disease and the chance of an outbreak. This is called “community immunity”, or “herd immunity”. There are many important factors that make community immunity important for all residents’ health.

Community immunity protects vulnerable populations such as infants who are too young to be vaccinated, people with weaker immune systems such as the elderly, and also people who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, such as being immunocompromised, undergoing cancer treatment, or experiencing allergic reactions. For these groups, “community immunity” is most important.

“Getting immunized, and immunizing your children is not just about personal protection. It’s also about community protection,” explains Rachel Bennet, a Public Health Nurse with the Health Department. “Many diseases that were once common are now rare in Canada because of vaccines, but they still exist. The recent cases of measles in Canada demonstrate the importance of community immunity. If enough people are not vaccinated, diseases can spread. By keeping immunizations up-to-date, residents can protect themselves and help reduce the spread of diseases.”

Routine immunizations throughout a person’s lifespan are needed to develop protection and remain protected against certain diseases. The Health Department encourages all families to ensure that their immunization records are up-to-date by consulting with their health care provider, or Durham Region Health Department. Residents are also reminded to report all immunizations to the Health Department, as health care providers do not currently provide immunization updates to the Health Department.

The Health Department offers immunization clinics for residents who do not have a health care provider or Ontario Health Insurance Plan coverage.

For more information on immunization, visit durham.ca/immunize or call Durham Health Connection Line at 905-666-6241 or 1-800-841-2729.

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For more information, please contact Health Department.