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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...