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RHA celebrates National Immunization Awareness Week 0

By Robin Dudgeon, Portage Daily Graphic

File photo...The Central RHA is encouraging people to get their immunizations during National Immunization Awareness Week, Apr. 21-28. Pamphlets have been distributed to public health offices to give people more information.

File photo...The Central RHA is encouraging people to get their immunizations during National Immunization Awareness Week, Apr. 21-28. Pamphlets have been distributed to public health offices to give people more information.

The Central Regional Health Authority (RHA) is hoping to spread the word about the importance of immunizations during National Immunization Awareness Week taking place from Apr. 21-28.

Dr. Shelley Buchan, Medical Officer of Health for Central RHA, said the RHA is currently involved in an information campaign with pamphlets and other information going to public health offices and into RHA newsletters promoting the importance of immunization.

"In the last 50 years immunization has saved more lives than any other health intervention whether it's drugs or surgeries or that kind of thing. Immunization has saved a lot of lives just because it has stopped a lot of the major outbreaks from happening and affecting those who are most vulnerable like the young, the elderly, and those with chronic health conditions," said Buchan.

Currently immunizations for illnesses like measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, whooping cough, and meningitis are given at different times of life with some given to infants, others given in schools to students in grade 4, grade 6, and grade 9, and finally vaccines given to adults, or given for travelling.

Manitoba Health tries to make it as simple as possible for people to get vaccines by not only covering the cost of many of them but also making them readily available to people.

"Manitoba Health covers a lot of vaccines for free: the childhood vaccines are covered, the vaccines in the schools are covered, influenza is covered now for everybody," said Buchan. "The government provides them in many settings: in physician offices, through public health, and in the schools."

The mistake that many people make is thinking that because we haven't seen a certain illness in a while that it is gone. But that is not the case because the vaccine not only protects us but it stops us from spreading the illness on to others.

"That's the problem with prevention in general when you prevent diseases people think that they've gone away but in fact other than small pox there really hasn't been any disease that has been eliminated on Earth as far as the ones we vaccinate for," said Buchan.

For more on vaccinations see Manitoba Health's website at www.gov.mb.ca/health/imm/index.html.

For the full story see Wednesday's edition of the Portage Daily Graphic.


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