A message from Marion Guenther, Clinical Nurse Specialist for Immunizations
There may be a feeling of powerlessness when it comes to protecting our children from COVID-19. No vaccines are currently approved for use in Canada for people under the age of 16.
However, there are still many vaccine-preventable diseases that we can stop. The pandemics of the past are preventable today by maintaining these regular immunizations.
Recent outbreaks of mumps and measles remind us that the moment we let our guards down and stop vaccinating our children, these dangerous diseases that we rarely ever think about can come back just as easily as they once appeared.
Vaccines are about minimizing risk
Choosing to vaccinate yourself or your child is a personal choice – but it's one that parents make to help lower a child's risk of infection. Choosing not to immunize your child against a vaccine-preventable disease means worrying whether your child will come into contact with that disease. Even if your child doesn't become sick, he or she may become a carrier and pass it on to others who are not vaccinated or who developed only partial immunity from the vaccine.
Community immunity helps protect those at high risk of developing disease and severe complications or death, such as:
Get the facts from a professional
We all want to make the right choices for our children and protect them from harm. That universal instinct unites parents across every region and border on the planet. This task can feel so overwhelming when we have so much information on the Internet giving conflicting opinions about vaccines and their effectiveness. As health care professionals, we know that immunization has worked to protect us from disease—this has been especially evident in First Nations communities. Please speak to your nurse practitioner or health care provider about childhood immunizations or go to trusted sources such as the FNHA's Immunization Program web page or Health Canada's guide to immunization for First Nations parents and caregivers: Don't wait to vaccinate.
It's safe to get your child vaccinated – even during COVID-19
You may be worried about visiting a health centre or physician's office during COVID-19 for fear of transmission. Rest assured that health centres, health directors, doctors, nurses and other medical staff have strict health measures in place to ensure the safety of you and your child during visits. Please call your nurse practitioner to talk about how to set up an appointment safely.
A vaccinated child is safer from COVID-19
What we know about COVID-19 is that although children have been more resistant to transmission of this virus, all human beings—regardless of age—are more vulnerable to disease when the immune system is weakened.
The last thing we want to do is scare anybody—on the contrary, we want families to make decisions calmly. However, it's important to ensure your child's immunization is up to date to protect them as well as those around them.