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It’s National Immunization Week from April 22 to 30, 2024 — and this year, it is important for Manitobans to check if they are up to date with vaccinations. 

“Vaccinations help your body create an immune response against disease and protect you and your family from getting sick,” says Marcy Timchishen, Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority Immunization Co-ordinator. “Infectious diseases and illnesses such as polio, measles, meningitis and whooping cough are serious concerns for public health due to being highly contagious. However, thanks to the introduction of vaccines to modern medicine, these conditions are now preventable.”

Vaccine recommendations are updated over time as new evidence and findings come forward. This can sometimes make it difficult for people to know which vaccines they need and which vaccines they are eligible for. Some might not realize that they need to get caught up on their vaccines. For example, adults and pregnant people may not know that they need to get immunized against certain diseases.

Some may think that vaccines are just for kids — but, in fact, immunizations are needed throughout the lifespan. Most people aren’t aware that they need a tetanus shot until they visit the emergency room due to sustaining an injury. All adults require a tetanus booster every 10 years. For those who have not had an adult dose of whooping cough, they are eligible for that as well.

Timchishen said that National Immunization Awareness Week is a good time for Manitobans to speak to their health-care provider or public health nurse about updating their children’s or their own vaccinations.

“Public Health encourages all health-care providers to take the opportunity, when presented, to ensure that their client’s or patient’s immunization records are up to date,” she said.

Manitoba Health provides publicly funded vaccines to Manitoba residents who are registered with Manitoba Health, per Manitoba’s routine immunization schedule and vaccine eligibility criteria. Over the last couple months, Public Health has been focusing efforts on ensuring that those who are eligible for measles vaccination are up to date due to a significant rise in measles cases in many parts of the world and with some cases occurring in differing provinces across the country.

Public Health has also been administering more meningitis vaccine due to a recent change in the preschool routine immunization schedule in order to offer better protection against different strains that are circulating in the province.

For example, children over the age of 12 months and born after Jan. 1, 2020, are eligible for a Meningococcal Quadrivalent Vaccine even if they have had their routine Meningococcal C Vaccine.

During National Immunization Awareness Week, Public Health Nurses across the region will be increasing their outreach efforts to raise awareness of immunizations. There are clinics happening throughout the region as well as information boards, posters and community advertising around the importance of getting your vaccines up to date. Anyone with questions regarding their own or their child’s immunization records, who want to schedule an appointment or are unsure if all immunizations are up to date, are encouraged to please contact their local public health nurse

To learn more about recommended vaccination schedules for children and adults, visit:

For more information regarding vaccines and their importance, visit:

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