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Immunization is Still Our Best Shot at Preventing Disease

Apr 25, 2015

National Immunization Awareness Week 2015

Over the past 50 years, immunization has saved more Canadian lives than any other health intervention. Vaccines are among our most successful and cost-effective disease prevention interventions, protecting our children against diseases such as diphtheria, measles, pertussis (whooping cough), pneumonia, polio, rotavirus diarrhea, rubella and tetanus.

In recent years, the benefits of immunization have been extended to adolescents and adults, providing protection against life-threatening diseases such as influenza, meningitis and cancers of the cervix and liver. Vaccination against respiratory infections such as influenza and pneumonia is particularly important for people with people with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other lung diseases.

Yet despite overwhelming evidence that immunization is safe, saves lives and reduces health-care costs, not enough Ontarians are taking advantage of vaccination programs. Even more worrying is the emergence of a still small but growing cadre of “anti-vaxers” – parents who risk the health of their own and other children by refusing to have their children vaccinated.

At the start of National Immunization Awareness Week, the Ontario Lung Association reaffirms its support for immunization programs that prevent, reduce or eliminate vaccine preventable diseases, particularly infectious respiratory diseases such as influenza, pneumonia and whooping cough.

The Ontario Lung Association and its partners in the Ontario Lung Health Alliance are urging the government to develop and implement a comprehensive action plan on lung health for the province.  Since disease prevention is a key component of the proposed plan, the Ontario Lung Association will continue to work alongside federal, provincial and municipal health agencies to increase awareness of the benefits of immunization, improve delivery and uptake and maintain public confidence in immunization programs.