By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Aug. 11, 2012
Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) is reminding all parents to ensure their vaccinations are up-to-date before schools open in September.
All children aged 4 to 6 should get the Tdap-IPV vaccine which protects against tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough, and polio.
Children should also receive vaccinations against chicken pox, said Dr. Meena Dawar, medical health officer for VCH.
Dawar said while most of these infections are rare in B.C., cases of whooping cough in Vancouver and Fraser Valley show that infections can spread quickly among those who are unprotected.
“Vaccines are the best way to protect children against these serious and sometimes fatal diseases,” Dawar said.
The free shots can be obtained from family doctors or from public health nurses at VCH community health centres.
In January, three new publicly funded vaccines were added to the BC childhood immunization schedule to ensure children get the most effective protection from preventable diseases.
1. Second dose of chicken pox vaccine , now offered to children ages 4 to 6 years.
2. Rotavirus vaccine, offered at ages 2 and 4 months.
3. Hepatitis A vaccine, offered to Aboriginal children at 6 and 18 months.
As a nurse at the BC Children’s Hospital ,Nicole Lewis said she saw many infants with pertussis and its devastating effects.
“Babies were struggling to breathe and so ill, all because of an infection that is preventable with vaccine,” said Nicole Lisle, the communicable disease coordinator at VCH.