1. Immunization can save your child’s life.
2. Vaccines are safe and effective.
3. Vaccine-preventable diseases have not gone away.
4. Immunizing your child helps protect others.
When your child gets immunized, it doesn’t just protect them; it also helps to protect your whole community. This is because the more people in a community who are immunized, the harder it is for a disease to spread. This type of protection is called community (or herd) immunity.
- Babies who are too young to be fully immunized.
- People who cannot get certain vaccines for medical reasons, such as a child receiving treatment for cancer.
- People who may not respond well to immunization, such as those with poor immune systems.
5. It's much safer to get the vaccine than the disease.
Immunization is the best and safest way for your child to build immunity. If your child gained immunity through natural infection (getting the disease), they would be at risk for severe illness and, in some cases, long-term disability and death. For example:
- Meningococcal infection can cause deafness, loss of limbs, and brain damage.
Chickenpox can cause pneumonia (infection in the lungs) and increases the risk of severe invasive group A streptococcal infection.
Pneumococcal infection can cause meningitis (infection of the lining that covers the brain), septicemia (infection of the blood), and pneumonia.
Measles can cause pneumonia and encephalitis (swelling of the brain).
6. Vaccines protect future generations.
- Smallpox immunization eradicated the disease worldwide. Today children no longer need to get immunized against smallpox because the disease no longer exists.
- Polio immunization has eliminated the disease from Canada and most countries. Polio was once the most feared disease, causing death and paralysis.
- Immunizing children against rubella has dramatically reduced the risk of pregnant people passing the virus on to their fetuses or newborn.
7. Vaccines can help reduce antibiotic resistance.
- There was a decrease in antibiotic resistance in pneumococcal bacteria after the pneumococcal vaccine was introduced.
- After the Hib vaccine was introduced, there was a similar decrease in bacterial resistance to antibiotics for Hib .
GRAPHICS & VIDEOS
This graphic shows how effective vaccines have been at reducing disease in Canada by comparing the number of disease cases before and after the introduction of each vaccine.
How community immunity works
This graphic shows how disease can spread quickly when no one is immunized and how the spread of disease is contained when most people are immunized.
What is herd (community) immunity?
This video explains how community immunity works to protect your family and community.
Video courtesy of Health Canada. All contents may not be reproduced without permission and are copyright of Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, Represented by the Minister of Health, 2012.