It’s National Immunization Awareness Week from April 21-28, 2018. Immunity is your best defense against disease.
Saskatchewan has shown exceptional leadership in the use of vaccines to address emerging issues or at-risk groups. Did you know we were the first province to immunize children in First Nations communities for hepatitis A? The World Health Organization estimates vaccines help prevent two to three million deaths each year.
National Immunization Awareness Week (NIAW) is an annual event held in the last week of April each year to remind the public about the importance of receiving available vaccinations and the importance of keeping these vaccinations up to date.
Immunization is particularly important for young children 0 to 18 months of age.
NIAW also helps health care providers educate the public about the importance of receiving immunizations, how and when to access services and to create overall awareness of the benefits of immunizations. One example of this in Saskatchewan is Regina’s Central Primary Health Care (PHC) Network team who have been trialling a mobile childhood immunization service since October 2017 in areas with lower than ideal immunization rates. PHC identified a need for families who wanted to have their children immunized, but recognized that transportation and childcare posed potential barriers to accessing service. They have utilized a decommissioned ambulance to assist population and public health as well as primary health care in community outreach. The new program has seen strong uptake thus far.
One of the most important decisions individuals can make to protect their health is the decision to get vaccinated. NIAW provides an opportunity to raise awareness of how some of the world’s most preventable and sometimes devastating diseases are kept from resurfacing through the effectiveness of vaccination. Immunization is particularly important for the health and safety of those who are most vulnerable, either because they are too young to be immunized or they have a medical condition that precludes them from being immunized.
During NIAW remember that everyone has a responsibility to ensure they or their family members are protected from serious diseases through the power of immunization. Strengthen your defense today. Get immunized!