As summer winds down, Vancouver Coastal Health is reminding parents that now is the perfect time to ensure your children’s vaccinations are up-to-date.
“Children between four and six years old should have up-to-date booster shots to protect against polio, tetanus, diphtheria, chicken pox and whooping cough,” said Vancouver Coastal Health Medical Health Officer Dr. Meena Dawar. “While most of these infections are now rare in B.C. because of routine childhood vaccination programs, the recent measles outbreak in the Fraser Valley is a reminder that these diseases are still around and can spread quickly among those who are unprotected.”
Parents are asked to submit their children’s immunization record once their child begins attending school. If someone at school contracts a vaccine-preventable infectious disease, children who are unprotected may be asked to stay home until it is safe to return. By ensuring your child is immunized, not only are you protecting their health but those in the community as well.
Dawar emphasizes that vaccines are the best way to protect children against these serious and sometimes fatal diseases. Vaccines, even combined doses, are safe and can pose minor, if any, side effects.
“It’s much safer to get the vaccine than to get the disease,” she said. “If parents have any concerns, they should always speak with their doctor or a public health nurse.”
Vaccines can be obtained for free from family doctors or from public health nurses at VCH community health centres. Visit VCH.ca for kindergarten immunization times. To learn more about immunizations download the booklet Immunization: An important choice you make for your child.
© Coast Reporter