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IMMUNIZATION


Vaccine Safety

Vaccine safety is of the highest importance and concern for all vaccine stakeholders. As vaccine-preventable infections have decreased, the spotlight of public and mass media concern has shifted to vaccine safety. Since vaccines are usually given to healthy people, especially children, tolerance for adverse events is low. Perceived vaccine safety risks get as much attention as real ones and can be difficult to dispel despite credible scientific evidence. Loss of confidence threatens the continued success of immunization programs.

Health care providers have essential and pivotal roles to play in gaining and maintaining public confidence in the safety of vaccines These include providing evidence-based information on the benefits and risks of vaccines; helping clients and patients to interpret media and Internet vaccine safety messages; and identifying and reporting adverse events following immunization. Any single occurrence of an unusual event following immunization may be coincidental or caused by the vaccine. An accumulation of reports, sometimes as few as four or five, may signal a risk due to the vaccine. Thus, each and every report submitted by vaccine providers is important.

Vaccine Safety in Canada

Safer than diseases they prevent: Vaccines in Canada are effective and safe--much safer than the diseases they prevent. These diseases can lead to pneumonia, deafness, brain damage, heart problems, blindness, paralysis and carry a risk of life-long disability or death.

Rigorous research is ongoing: Vaccines are continuously monitored and tested around the world and in Canada before they are approved for use. Canada has several systems in place to keep a watchful eye on any reports of unusual, adverse side effects following immunizations.