For those of us who don’t have to think twice about the quality of our air and drinking water, or access to healthcare, food, shelter, and safety, it can be easy to take these health essentials for granted.

Another essential that can be easy to take for granted in higher income countries is vaccination. However, without vaccination, many people would not be alive at this time. In the past, contracting a deadly disease like smallpox for instance would be a reality for ourselves and our loved ones. But, thanks to vaccines some deadly diseases have been eradicated. In this way, vaccines are life, literally; we are saving lives every day.

Since vaccines are so important, and it happens to be National Immunization Awareness Week (NIAW), from April 23-30 this year, let’s talk more about these life-savers.

NIAW 2022 (poster)

The slogan for NIAW is #VaccinesWork—simple, yet timeless, and factual. Vaccines save millions of lives around the world each year. Our vaccines are safe, effective, and go through rigourous trials in Canada before they’re approved for general population use, and that includes our COVID-19 vaccines.

#VaccinesWork, yes, but how exactly? Fortunately, a great way to remember, and also teach others (even kids can memorize this!) is through the three R’s: recognize, respond, and remember—when you get a vaccine, your immune system recognizes the germ, responds by making antibodies, and remembers how to destroy it, if and when, it sees it entering the body again. Here’s a short video to illustrate:

How Vaccines Work – ImmunizeBC

Living in the midst of a pandemic, we’ve been able to see the effectiveness of vaccination in real-time—it remains the strongest tool in our COVID-19 toolkit, proving to be highly effective in reducing infections, hospitalizations, and death due to COVID-19. In fact, we’re proud to be supporting one of the most important studies on COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness—renowned research that is informing public health response in BC, as well as nationally and internationally. 

Vaccines should be a human right; but, vaccine equity, that is, ensuring everyone has equitable access to vaccination, is not equally distributed around the world. With this knowledge, those of us who do have easy access to vaccination, should not only consider getting vaccinated a responsibility, but we should also educate ourselves on how and why vaccines work. In other words, growing our knowledge of vaccination, and then spreading scientific, evidence-based information, in order to counter mis- and disinformation about vaccines, is our duty. And here’s where you can Activate Health.

Here are five vaccine-specific ways you and your family can Activate Health together:

  • Imagine a life without vaccines for yourself, your children, and your grandparents, and discuss it together. Then, continue educating yourself on the power of vaccination, such as learning how ‘herd immunity‘ (AKA ‘community immunity’) works, and visiting the Foundation’s COVID-19 resources.
  • Get yourself and your loved ones up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccinations. You can find information for booster doses, fourth doses, and COVID-19 vaccination for kids 5-11 years of age.
  • Get yourself and your kids’ routine vaccination schedules back on track. Just as you would mark your calendar for your regular dental cleanings, mark your calendar for your routine vaccinations. If you have children, read this article and share it with other parents you know that child vaccinations have been on the decline, especially in BC. While worrisome, it’s not too late to get our children back on track.
  • Stay ‘in-the-know’ about vaccination, and get your questions answered by visiting these websites: ImmunizeBC, Immunize Canada, BC Centre for Disease Control, I Boost Immunity, and Kids Boost Immunity.
  • Donate to support the BCCDC Foundation’s work to address vaccine hesitancy and misinformation via our Driving Innovation Fund, or to support critical vaccine effectiveness research via our Emergency Response Fund.

It’s vital, to our own health and wellbeing, as well as that of our children, grandchildren, and generations to come, that we educate ourselves on the importance of vaccination, ingest and spread evidence-based information only, and practice what we talk about by getting ourselves and loved ones up-to-date on all vaccinations.

Together we can save lives—our own and others’. Like vaccines, the power of Activate Health is strengthened, and the positive ripple effect is greater, by how many of us, and how often, we take action. In this way, maybe, just maybe, we can create a ripple effect so large, that over time, we can vaccinate the world. Because vaccines work.

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