The Ontario Medical Association and the Halton Region Health Department are underscoring the importance of being immunized. Keeping children up to date with their immunizations is an important way to keep them and the whole community healthy.
“Vaccination is one of the best ways to protect yourself and the people you love from serious illness,” says Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Medical Officer of Health for Halton Region. “All vaccines in Canada are rigorously tested before use. The most common side effects of vaccines are minor—like a headache or muscle ache—and quickly pass. But diseases like measles, pertussis and polio can be serious and occasionally cause permanent effects.”
Vaccination is one of the most successful public health interventions in history. It has led to the elimination and control of dangerous and infectious diseases such as smallpox, polio, diphtheria, measles, and pertussis (whooping cough). It was not long ago that these diseases caused many Canadian children to become severely ill or die.
Measles, for example, can cause pneumonia, encephalopathy (brain inflammation), and serious problems even years after the initial infection. Children are more vulnerable and can become very sick very quickly. When a large percentage of the community is vaccinated—about 95 per cent for measles—the disease cannot spread easily, protecting everyone.
“On behalf of Ontario’s 31,500 practicing doctors I want to say that vaccines work, vaccines are very safe, vaccines are vital to the health and well being of us all and parents should not be swayed by the misinformation they find online,” says Dr. Sohail Gandhi, President, Ontario Medical Association.
Parents want to make the best decisions for their children. Sixty-three per cent of parents in Canada look for immunization information on the Internet and half of these do a simple Google search. This is very concerning because much of the information circulating about vaccination on websites and social networks is unreliable, inaccurate and may discourage parents from getting their children vaccinated.
For these reasons, the OMA has launched a multi-channel public relations, social media and advocacy campaign to target the spread of anti-vaccine myths using #AskOntarioDoctors.
For more information about the campaign, to listen to the podcast or get the factsheet, visit askontariodoctors.ca (external link).
About the OMA
The Ontario Medical Association represents Ontario’s 43,000 plus physicians, medical students and retired physicians, advocating for and supporting doctors while strengthening the leadership role of doctors in caring for patients. Our vision is to be the trusted voice in transforming Ontario’s health-care system.
About Halton Region
The Regional Municipality of Halton serves more than 580,000 residents in the City of Burlington, the Town of Halton Hills, the Town of Milton, and the Town of Oakville. Halton Region is committed to meeting the needs of its residents through the delivery of cost-effective, quality programs and services, including water and wastewater; Regional roads and planning; paramedic services; waste management; public health; social assistance; children’s and seniors’ services; housing services; heritage programs; emergency management and economic development. For more information, call 311 or visit Halton Region’s website at halton.ca.
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