Immunization and public health

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Prevention is always better than cure. This is why immunization is recommended to maintain good health. Vaccines protect people from certain diseases and prevent communicable diseases from spreading. Manitoba has an active, publicly-funded immunization program to administer vaccines to the public.

What are vaccines?

A vaccine is a substance that provides immunity against certain diseases and is administered to people usually through shots or injections. It helps the immune system learn how to recognize and fight the germs that cause diseases (Manitoba Health, Healthy Living and Seniors, Communicable Disease Control – CDC).

Vaccines have been proven to be safe and effective. Sometimes, they may cause side-effects like soreness in the arm or leg, or headaches, but these are minor and may last only for a few days. The benefits of vaccines are far greater than any possible danger or discomfort from side effects.

What kinds of diseases can I be immunized against?

You can be immunized against:

  • diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus (lock jaw), polio, haemophilus influenzae type b
    measles, mumps and rubella (German measles)
  • pneumococcal infections
  • influenza (the flu)
  • meningitis
  • varicella (chickenpox)
  • hepatitis B
  • human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Inactivated polio virus (IPV)
  • Rotavirus
  • Varicella

How do I access vaccines?

Manitobans can inquire about and receive publicly-funded immunization from various health care providers all over the province. For a list of Public Health Offices in Manitoba, you can refer to this page, or access this downloadable list of immunization clinics provided by public health nurses all over Manitoba. Manitoba’s CDC also has routine immunization schedules for infants and pre-school children, school children, and adults. Vaccinations may be administered by private physicians, primary care clinics and public health nurses.

Meanwhile, you can avail of annual influenza immunizations (flu shots) from public influenza immunization clinics usually in October. All Manitobans over six months of age are eligible for the seasonal flu vaccine at no charge. You can get flu shots from hospitals, personal care homes, workplace clinics, and pharmacies (even those that are in supermarkets). You can check with any of the immunization clinics from the list in the previous paragraph.

Is it required?

Newcomer families should note that their children’s vaccination record or vaccination certificate is among the requirements for enrollment to school (along with birth certificate, and PR Card or landing records). However, vaccination for measles, which was once mandatory for school entry in Manitoba, has ceased to be a requirement. Authorities only require students who are not vaccinated to stay home should an outbreak occur.

Vaccinations are voluntary in Manitoba. However, being immunized is recommended because of its benefits, not only for own health, but for the protection of your family and the community at large.

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Community Resources

A Parent’s Guide to Vaccination is a downloadable resource that will help you understand the benefits of immunization. Produced by the Public Health Agency of Canada, it is available in English, French, and Arabic on this site.

If you have more questions about vaccination/immunization, you can consult your doctor or read Manitoba Health, Healthy Living and Seniors page on Frequently asked questions and answers about vaccines.

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Immunization and public health

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