Message from the Minister of Health for National Immunization Awareness Week (April 23-30, 2022)
Today, we mark the beginning of National Immunization Awareness Week (NIAW), celebrated each year to highlight and recognize the importance of vaccines to our health. Immunization in Canada and around the world has and continues to save more lives than any other health intervention.
Marking the 20th anniversary of Vaccination Week in the Americas, led by the Pan American Health Organization, this year’s call to action—“Are you fully vaccinated? Get all your shots”—aims to reach those who have not yet received the full benefits of routine immunizations and/or of the COVID-19 vaccines.
Keeping up with routine childhood and adult vaccinations remains important during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. This week is a great opportunity to talk to your health care provider about the importance of catching up on any missed routine vaccinations, especially for children and youth. It is also a good reminder to ensure you are up to date with the COVID-19 vaccines recommended for you, including booster doses.
A hundred years ago, the leading cause of death in Canada was infectious diseases. Decades later, vaccines offer the best intervention to protect our families, communities, and ourselves by preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death, along with minimizing impacts on our health care system. Thanks in part to immunization programs across the country, infectious diseases now cause a much smaller number of deaths in Canada.
Over the last two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted just how important vaccines are to our collective health and our health care system. With more than 31 million individuals in Canada having received their primary series of vaccination against COVID-19 to protect themselves and the people around them, we have seen the power of vaccination.
These efforts in helping ensure millions of individuals across the country are vaccinated were made possible thanks to the hard work of the healthcare workers, frontline immunizers, and scientific researchers. The delivery of safe, effective vaccines has been crucial in helping protect the health of people living in Canada and we thank you all for your continued efforts in keeping Canadians safe.
This week, I encourage you to reflect on how far we have come with immunization in Canada, minimizing public health threats of diseases like measles and polio. Now, we all have a responsibility to use immunization to help us fight COVID-19. We thank everyone who has done their part in rolling up their sleeves and supporting each other in getting vaccinated but there is still more to be done. Our government will continue to support vaccine research and development, to help everyone live healthier lives and we hope that you continue to do your part - get your routine vaccinations and get your booster doses against COVID-19 when eligible.
Learn more about immunization in Canada here: Vaccines and immunization
The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Health
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health
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