Vaccination, Immunization and Protection

It’s time! Your little treasure needs to receive their first vaccines to protect against some serious diseases. Although vaccination is not mandatory, it is highly recommended.

The majority of parents wonder about immunization, which is perfectly normal. Be ready because the time will come, too fast. And you need to face it! Your little treasure needs to receive their first vaccines.

Currently, vaccination is not mandatory or imposed in Canada. Some parents refuse to vaccinate their baby. Why? Some have concerns about the safety of vaccines. Often, vaccines are often blamed for various diseases such as autism, Chron’s disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, asthma, etc.

All these allegations have never withstood scientific examination. Recent research using rigorous methodologies around the world has shown, for example, that MMR (measles, rubella, mumps) vaccine does not cause autism or inflammatory bowel diseases.

I believe this parental concern is due to a misunderstanding of “real data”. I agree, it is important to choose what is best for our child, but we must have all the information to make an informed and proper choice. It’s easy to believe what the sister-in-law said, but it is important to find out from a health professional who will be able to provide you with adequate explanations to help with the benefits of vaccines against the risk of illness and the low risk of the vaccine itself. Nevertheless, the choice to vaccinate your child or not will remain a personal decision, which I respect.

Yes, it is true, we are in a country with excellent living conditions. Despite this fact, here is a current example:

Before 1990: 1 in 300 children contracted an infection caused by HIB (bacteria causing meningitis and other serious infections), 100 children died from meningitis, for a total of 2000 cases per year. Since the introduction of the “Menjugate” vaccine, this number has decreased to less than 4 cases per year in 2000. Health conditions have not changed since 1990. This decrease in cases is due to routine large-scale vaccinations for all 12 month-old children.

It has been shown that diseases reappear rapidly when the number of people vaccinated decreases. Closer to home, in Ontario in 2005, there was a rubella outbreak. 214 cases in a community that was opposed to vaccination.

Now, I will present you with the most frequent questions I receive from parents. I hope my answers will help you better understand the important role of vaccination.

How do vaccines work?

Vaccines force our defence cells to fabricate antibodies. Thanks to these, the vaccinated person becomes protected against the diseases caused by the real microbes. This is a protective reaction that is completely natural. In other words, a vaccine stimulates the formation of specific antibodies against a virus or bacteria, and when we are exposed to this microorganism, our immune system is able to counterattack.

When should I vaccinate my child?

It is at two-months-old that your child should receive their first vaccines. CLSCs and most paediatricians offer this service. Sometimes the waiting time to get an appointment is very long. There are also some private clinics that offer this service. Here is the vaccination schedule. It is also written in the child’s immunization record:

Consult the vaccination chart

Is there a limit to the number of vaccines or injections that can be given to children during the same visit?

There is no limit to the number of vaccines that can be administered at the same time. It is common for the child to receive three or four vaccines during the same visit. This practice is becoming more and more common. And as surprising as it may seem, toddlers tolerate this very well. Of course, only vaccines that are compatible together are given at the same time. In addition, parents are spared the time and expense of repeated consultations.

Are vaccines a risk for my child?

Vaccines are very safe. In most cases, they do not cause any reaction. The most common side effects (discomfort in the thigh or arm, or mild fever) are mild and transient. Of the millions of doses given each year, very few cause serious reactions.

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