Vax Facts

Know where to go for your vaccinations



We all want the best for our families, so naturally, reports of occasional outbreaks of measles, meningitis, whooping cough and other preventable diseases in Canada raise concern and some questions. Why the increase in several preventable illnesses that we thought were behind us?

Along with growing international mobility, slipping vaccination rates in Canada and the U.S. may be contributing to the problem. While the majority of Canadians say they believe in vaccination’s effectiveness and importance, almost one in two have some concerns that leave them “unsure” about having their children vaccinated, according to a 2018 survey of global confidence in immunization.1 Uncertainty leaves people vulnerable to misinformation, much of it spread on social media by the anti-vaccination movement. Given the serious health risks of some now rare diseases, outbreaks of these illnesses in pockets of unvaccinated people are not to be taken lightly. Just last year, the World Health Organization named vaccine hesitancy one of the top ten threats to human health around the world.1

A CBC news report on Canadian views of immunization explains several ways that misinformation can take a toll on our vaccination rates. One factor, omission bias, plays on our concerns so that it seems easier not to take action in order to avoid possible negative consequences. And when one individual’s description of a negative vaccination experience touches an emotional chord, it can carry more weight than the bigger statistical picture of all the people who were helped, not harmed, by the same vaccine.1

Experts have scientifically disproven many common vaccine myths. Here are some facts:

  • Vaccination does not increase the risk of asthma or allergies, or cause autism, sudden infant death syndrome, cancer, type 1 diabetes, brain damage, or chronic fatigue syndrome.2
  • Healthy diet, breast feeding, and in some cases, even having an infection previously, do not provide immunity to the same extent as up-to-date vaccinations.2

There has been a healthy backlash against the anti-vax messages, but increasing use of vaccination exemptions for nonmedical reasons is a growing concern. Preventable diseases can spread quickly when vaccination rates decline. This is why herd immunity is so important.1,3

For example, in 1974, when about 80 per cent of Japanese children were vaccinated for pertussis (whooping cough), the infection occurred in 393 people in all of Japan, and there were no deaths from the disease. When vaccination rates dropped to 10 per cent over the next five years, whooping cough infections increased, to affect more than 13,000 people and cause 41 deaths. Incidence dropped again when routine vaccination was resumed.3

Measles is another example. Although most Canadians are vaccinated against measles, outbreaks at home and in the U.S in the last decade are worrisome. In 2011, when more than 350,000 cases of measles were reported around the world and outbreaks occurred in the Pacific, Asia, Africa, and Europe, 90 per cent of measles cases in the U.S. were associated with cases imported from another country. Thanks to wide-spread vaccination in the U.S., herd immunity prevented small clusters of cases from becoming epidemics.3

Decisions about our children’s health and safety should be based on facts, not rhetoric. If you have questions, ask your physician or a trusted health-care professional so that you can make informed decisions for the well-being of your family, community, and country.

Brought to you by – Know where to go for your vaccinations!

This information should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your doctor. There may be variations in treatment that your physician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

To find the vaccinating clinic closest to you along with reliable immunization information, visit


  1. Nearly half of Canadians are concerned about vaccine safety. Here's why.
  2. Demystifying Beliefs Regarding the Risks of Vaccination
  3. What Would Happen If We Stopped Vaccinations?


Spring 2020, Vol 12 N°2

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