Routine immunizations protect against these dangerous and highly contagious diseases. Vaccines that protect against other diseases may also be recommended. Check with your health care provider.
Some immunizations are given in a single shot or oral dose, while others require several doses over a period of time.
The DTaP–IPV–Hib combined vaccine protects from diphtheria (D), tetanus (T), pertussis or whooping cough (aP), polio (IPV), and haemophilus (HiB).
Diphtheria can be a deadly disease because some types attack the airway and vital organs. Although rarely seen in Canada today, it’s easy for diphtheria to return if too few people get immunized. This has happened in several places around the world.
Tetanus is a life-threatening disease caused by a germ found in dust, soil and animal feces. You can’t catch it from other people. The germ enters the body through a break in the skin. There is no other protection against tetanus except the vaccine.
Whooping cough is still common and affects people of all ages, but is most severe in young children. Every year, 1 to 3 infants die in Canada from whooping cough. The germ is very contagious and someone not vaccinated has a very high risk (90%) of getting sick if exposed.
The polio vaccine works so well that there is no longer a threat of getting the disease in Canada. The highest risk of getting polio is through travel. Until polio is wiped out all over the world, protection is still needed.
Hib is a severe life-threatening disease. Children under age 5 are most at risk and 5% will die if infected. The good news is that Hib disease is now rare in Canada, but only as long as immunization rates remain high.
The MMR combined vaccine protects against measles (M), mumps (M), and rubella.
Measles is contagious and can cause lifelong brain damage or death. The MMR vaccine is safe. It is NOT a cause of autism or any other disease.
Mumps disease is usually not serious. However, it can cause lifelong problems such as deafness and brain damage.
Rubella is usually not serious in children, but very serious in pregnant women. Rubella during pregnancy can cause death or severe damage to an unborn child. Although rubella disease is rare in Canada today, it can easily return if too few children get immunized.
Single vaccines protect against hepatitis B, meningococcal disease, pneumococcal disease, HPV (Human papillomavirus), varicella (chickenpox), and influenza (Flu).
The hepatitis B germ lives in an infected person’s blood and body fluids and attacks the liver. Some people don’t know they have hepatitis B and can pass it on to a friend or a loved one.
Children should be immunized early.
Meningococcal disease is a very serious disease that can lead to death. This germ can invade a young child’s body quickly, which is why it’s important to immunize children as young as possible.
Immunizing children against pneumococcal disease, as early as possible, protects them from serious harm such as brain damage and death. Some types are very hard to treat because some antibiotics no longer work.
HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs). It is spread orally and through skin-to-skin contact. HPV can cause cancers of the anus, cervix, mouth and throat, penis, vagina, and vulva, as well as genital warts.
While most people will get a mild to moderate illness, some people with chickenpox get very ill. Chickenpox in adults can be severe, with a death rate 25 times higher than for children. Chickenpox in pregnancy can seriously harm an unborn child.
Influenza (the flu) can be a severe, life-threatening illness for the very young, the elderly and the sick. A flu vaccine for you, your child, all other family members and caregivers is the best protection. It is needed every year.