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National Immunization Awareness Week: Vaccines are Your Best Defence

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London, ON – National Immunization Awareness Week begins tomorrow and runs until Saturday, May 3rd. The week highlights vaccination programs as the best defence against infectious disease, preventing more deaths than any other health intervention.

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Many diseases are now effectively and safely controlled through immunization, resulting in a reduced burden of illness in our communities and huge cost savings to the health care system. In fact, due to vaccination programs across Canada and many other countries, infectious diseases which were once the leading cause of death worldwide now cause less than 5% of all deaths.

“National Immunization Awareness Week gives us the opportunity to remind the community that vaccination is one of the most important public health measures in the country,” says Marlene Price, Manager of Vaccine Preventable Diseases with the Middlesex-London Health Unit. “Parents and health care providers have a responsibility to ensure that children are immunized on time and receive the full schedule of vaccinations required to protect them from serious diseases.”

A recently announced expansion of Ontario’s mandatory vaccination program for school age children will further protect children against Meningococcal Disease, Pertussis (Whooping cough) and for children born after 2010, chicken pox.

Adults should also make sure they are fully immunized in order to protect themselves and those around them, such as infants and the elderly, who may be more vulnerable to complications from vaccine preventable diseases.

The current influenza season has shown how important immunizations are. Not only is the seasonal vaccine a great match for the influenza strains that are currently circulating, but the vast majority of those who have become ill, did not get the annual flu shot.

The Health Unit offers a variety of immunization services for infants, children and adults at its 50 King Street office in London on Mondays, Wednesdays from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Wednesdays from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Immunizations are also offered in Strathroy at the Health Unit’s Kenwick Mall office on the first Tuesday of each month from 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. For travel-related immunizations, contact the Travel Immunization Clinic at 519-663-3395.

Vaccination really is your best shot. For more information, call the Health Unit or visit www.healthunit.com; you can also talk to a health care provider or visit www.immunize.ca.

Media Contact:
Dan Flaherty, Communications Manager, Middlesex-London Health Unit, 519-663-5317 ext. 2469, or 519-617-0570 (cell.)

Spokesperson:
Marlene Price, Manager, Vaccine Preventable Diseases, Middlesex-London Health Unit

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