Measles, mumps, polio and whooping cough were once common childhood diseases. These illnesses can cause severe complications or sometimes even death, but the development and routine use of vaccines means most are now quite rare in Canada. Vaccines are also available to prevent other serious diseases like meningitis. These vaccines also help to reduce the spread of these infections in the community. Outbreaks can continue to occur, particularly in areas of the world where vaccines are not as widely used. Vaccination against tetanus is also very important, as this bacteria is always present in the soil and dust.
Overall, keeping up to date with vaccines is the main way to avoid these infections. While there is generally very good vaccine uptake in Canada, delays in vaccination due to the pandemic have resulted in some children falling behind in recommended vaccinations, therefore increasing the chances of the spread of some infections in the community.
For the most effective protection, the Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that children receive vaccinations on time. The specific timing may vary somewhat by province and territory, but the first vaccines are usually given in infancy to help protect them before they are exposed to the illnesses.
The vaccines themselves go through thorough testing and review processes before they are approved by Health Canada, which also continues to monitor vaccines after approval.
For more information about vaccines or vaccine-preventable diseases, speak with a health-care provider and find out more at canada.ca/childhood-vaccines