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For more than 200 years, vaccines have been saving lives around the world. When children get vaccinated against a disease, they build up their immunity, making them stronger and more resistant to that disease. Getting vaccinated helps their body make antibodies that fight specific diseases, giving their immune system a boost.
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Conflict attacks the systems that support the routines of daily life. The result is that, during conflict, millions of children miss out on the basic vaccines they need to stay healthy and have a fair chance in life. Most often the children affected are the most vulnerable to disease.
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You know the time of year. The leaves are falling and all of the sudden Halloween is around the corner. The change of season brings other things, too. For one, flu activity starts to increase over the fall before peaking in the winter months.
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The rate of vaccine acquisition has remained relatively stable over the years suggesting the majority of Canadians are not raising their sleeves. While there is little doubt the vaccine is an excellent means to prevent infection, this message appears to be diluted by a number of other factors. For those responsible for ensuring the safety of Canadians the low turnout requires a more in-depth analysis to find a solution.
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Only two provinces require vaccines for school entry.
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And more doctors are dropping them as patients.
Last week they published an examination of vaccine hesitancy in Canada. Based on their results, the reasons behind the concern over vaccine may be far more troublesome than anyone believed.
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We know how to protect against measles and we have the tools to do it. In fact, at less than $2 each in low-income countries, the measles vaccine is one of the cheapest to deliver. Investments in the measles vaccine are considered one of the best buys in global health. Yet we are still coming up short and failing the world's most vulnerable children.
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Over the past 15 years, Tanzania has made a concerted effort to immunize its children -- and has achieved a remarkable vaccination rate of almost 90 per cent. That's not good enough for the government and health organizations, though. They want to get as close to 100 per cent as possible. But figuring out which children have been missed is a huge challenge in a country where many families still live nomadic lives in remote areas. Enter Seattle health organization PATH and Canada's own Mohawk College, in Hamilton, Ont. They're helping out, not with more vaccines or nurses, but a database.
We live in a province with a publicly funded vaccination program, however, the threat posed by vaccine preventable diseases is still with us, as we have seen in recent outbreaks of measles, mumps and pertussis (whooping cough). That's why getting vaccinated is important.
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The parents lost their one-month-old son to the disease in March 2015.
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The tell-tale signs are all around us: coughing friends, sniffling family members and colleagues taking sick days. Yes, flu season has returned once again. The flu vaccine is also back and it still remains our best defense against the flu and all Canadians should make flu immunization a priority.
With winter cold and flu season upon us, it is a good time to nail down immune-boosting habits to ward off the ills of winter time germs. Emerging research now suggests that diet, exercise, age, psychological stress and herbal supplements may have an impact on the immune systems ability to fight off assaults from invading microorganisms.
In February 2015, a poll by the Angus Reid Institute revealed that two-thirds of Canadians believe that children should not be allowed to attend school or daycare if their immunizations are not fully up to date. Interestingly, the country is divided.
Children (and adults) in Ontario should receive a routine schedule of vaccines against a long list of diseases. If your children aren't up to date on those vaccinations, I urge you to make a doctor's appointment now. Vaccination is one of the most important things you can do to protect the health of your family.
Vaccinations can be a controversial topic among parents. And now, with the measles outbreak in California Disney parks, the debate over whether parents should get their kids vaccinated has surfaced ag...
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Last month, the measles outbreak in California Disney parks sent parents into a flurry of panic. So far, 151 people from 17 U.S. states have been infected with the disease. While the outbreak has not...
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It would be difficult to have gotten this far into the year without having a conversation about vaccination. When measles cases started spreading across North America this winter, it roused arguments...
A few months ago I described three major epidemics around child health in Canada today, when there are in fact four. I failed to mention the equally important epidemic of misinformation, which has been described well here and while this is certainly applicable to the issue of vaccine hesitancy, it doesn't describe the entire picture.
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OTTAWA - Stephen Harper castigated Canadians who refuse to vaccinate their kids as he announced $22.5 million in additional funding for inoculation programs in some of the world's poorest countries.Th...
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Ineffective homeopathic alternatives to vaccines should be taken off the market because they are a dangerous distraction, public health officials urge as infectious diseases such as measles make a com...
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A new national poll that mines attitudes toward vaccinations suggests support for these disease prevention tools remains relatively high in Canada. But if you look beyond the over-arching numbers — ne...
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I got a measles vaccine booster shot this week because I needed to be sure I couldn't bring harm to my community. And I mean that literally, as measles has now arrived in my Toronto neighbourhood. The proximity of measles also prompted me to start poking around the Toronto Star's interactive map of Immunization Exemptions in Toronto's Schools and what I found sadly didn't surprise me -- alternative schools host scary percentages of unvaccinated kids. Unfortunately, anyone in Ontario can get a vaccine exemption.
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Last week in Berlin more than 15 countries pledged over US$7.5 billion to buy vaccines for the children of the world's poorest countries for the next five years. While this is great news for the millions of children living in the 73 countries supported by Gavi, there were other big winners: the pharmaceutical companies that benefit from the soaring vaccine prices they charge for vaccines worldwide.
It is easy to catch measles by inhaling the droplets or touching your face, mouth, nose or eyes after touching contaminated surfaces. So remember proper hand hygiene is critical to your protection of both measles but is also good practice to prevent common colds and other viruses.
Past generations of professional hockey players were never at risk of mumps outbreaks. Today's players are, and tomorrow's will be, along with adults generally. These outbreaks -- which the media portray as coming out of the blue -- don't surprise anyone in medical circles who has been paying attention.
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A group of Vancouver parents want vaccinations to be required for kids in British Columbia's public schools. The parents have started a change.org petition asking that the province make childhood shot...
Public health authorities have good reason to want health care workers vaccinated -- when highly knowledgeable people in the health care field balk at getting vaccines, they belie the common claim that only the misguided or misinformed question mass inoculation programs.
We have responsibilities as parents, both to our children and the other children they spend time with at daycare, school or other gathering places,to ensure their safety. And that includes getting them properly immunized. You simply don't know more than your doctor or the medical establishment, and neither do the authors and bloggers trying to convince you otherwise. Your family and friends, don't either, no matter how how many times they post anti-vax status updates or tweets. Do you really want to regress to a time when smallpox and polio roamed the Earth?
It's National Immunization Awareness Week, and UNICEF is reporting the failure of Canada to achieve the 95 per cent immunization rate required to protect the community. All it takes is one infected person to travel from an area where the disease is rampant to an area at risk, and we will have an outbreak. It is also no wonder that in the wake of actual conspiracies on the part of industry to hide the dangers of smoking, and acid rain or other environmental pollutants, we have a rise of a belief in phantasmal conspiracies from other big corporations.
Like most holiday seasons, many families are planning on multi-generational get-togethers, particularly if there is a "baby's first Christmas" to celebrate. But having a new baby around at Christmas can be as stressful as it is wonderful. Try to keep things nice, and not naughty by following this tips...
It used to be that modern medicine was a thing to be venerated, a doctor's words regarded like golden nectar of wisdom. Now, not so much. Once upon a time vaccinations were seen as miracles in a needle, warding off potentially life-threatening illnesses. In the States, the unvaccinating movement has turned epidemic, with as many as one in 10 parents refusing to vaccinate their children.