Immunization protects you and your family by preventing the spread of disease. It is one of the most important and cost-effective public health innovations. As immunization rates increase, the disease risk for everyone is reduced. In Canada, immunization has saved more lives than any other health intervention, and has contributed to a reduction in morbidity and mortality in adults, children and other vulnerable populations.
Having your child vaccinated is the best way to prevent serious illnesses, including many that are easily spread in schools and day care centres. Vaccines make your child’s immunity stronger. In the first few years of life, your child is most at risk of contracting serious vaccine-preventable diseases. The vaccination schedule is designed to protect your child before they are exposed to such diseases. By immunizing your child on time, you can prevent illness and protect from serious diseases, usually for their lifetime. Sometimes they will need a “booster” vaccination to ensure the protection is long-lasting. Usually, these vaccinations are done at routine childhood visits.
Vaccines help adults stay healthy too. Regardless of age, vaccination provides the most effective protection against disease. With certain vaccines, adults require a booster shot in order to maintain immunity. Any adults who were not adequately immunized as children are at risk of contracting vaccine-preventable diseases, and can also infect others. It is important that your vaccinations are up-to-date to ensure adequate protection for yourself and your family members.
Herpes zoster, also known as shingles, is a painful disease that results from the reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus (VZV), the same virus that causes varicella (chickenpox). After you have the varicella (chickenpox) infection, the virus lies dormant for many years. It can become active again and present itself in the form of shingles. Symptoms of shingles include headache, fever and a painful rash that develops on one side of the face or body. You may feel itching, tingling, burning or pain prior to the appearance of the blistering rash. The most frequent complication of shingles is prolonged and severe pain known as post-herpetic neuralgia. One in three Canadians develops shingles in their lifetime, with the incidence and severity increasing after age 50.
Shingles vaccination is recommended for people 50 years of age and older. Shingrix® can reduce the risk of shingles by over 90%. It requires two doses to be given two to six months apart. Common side effects are pain, redness and swelling at the site of injection, as well as muscle pain, headache, fatigue, nausea and fever. These side effects may be bothersome and typically last up to 3 days. The cost of the two dose series is approximately $342.00. Patients age 65-70 may be eligible to receive Shingrix® publicly funded at no cost. Shingrix® can be given in patients previously vaccinated with Zostavax® and in patients who have previously had shingles.
Pneumococcal disease is an infection caused by bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae (or pneumococcus). Pneumococcal infections can range from ear and sinus infections, to pneumonia and infections in the bloodstream, and meningitis.
Each year, about 3,000 cases of invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) are reported in Canada. Most of these cases happen in young children or elderly people. Anyone can get IPD, but some people are at higher risk of getting it, including:
For children, pneumococcal vaccination is offered during the publicly funded routine infant immunization program in Ontario at the ages of 2 months, 4 months and 12 months. The vaccine that is used at present in Ontario is Prevnar 13.
For adults, there are presently two available pneumococcal vaccines:
Influenza (or “the seasonal flu”) is a respiratory illness that spreads easily. It is caused by the influenza virus. Anyone can get the flu. The flu leads to thousands of deaths each year, mostly among the elderly, but young children and those with chronic health conditions are also at risk. In Canada, the flu season usually runs from November to April. One of the most effective ways to protect yourself from the flu is to get the flu shot each year in the fall.
At the Happy Valley Family Health Team, we offer the seasonal influenza vaccine through community based walk-in clinics and during routine clinic appointments between the months of November to April. If you receive your flu shot elsewhere, please kindly notify our office to keep your records up to date.
If you have a question regarding your immunization history or eligibility, or you are in need of an appointment to receive an immunization, call the clinic (519-284-3450) and request an appointment with the Immunization Nurse.
There are no clinics scheduled.