Immunizations offered to Kindergarten-aged children

Interior Health is advising parents to make sure their children's immune systems are ready.

Interior Health advises that all children ages four to six get their booster shots prior to beginning Kindergarten.

Interior Health advises that all children ages four to six get their booster shots prior to beginning Kindergarten.

A new generation of young children is ready to enter the hallowed halls of Kindergarten, and Interior Health is advising parents to make sure their children’s immune systems are ready as well.

Interior Health is once again offering immunization booster shots to Kindergarten-aged children between four and six years old. Clinics begin February 27, 2013, at the Cranbrook Health Unit.

“As children get older, the protection offered from infant immunizations can wear off,” IH said in a press release. “Vaccines trigger the immune system to be prepared to protect itself when exposed to certain bacteria and viruses that can cause diseases such as pertussis (whooping cough) or polio.”

Kindergarten age is the time for two booster immunizations of diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio and chickenpox.

Cranbrook residents can make an appointment for the immunizations by calling 250-420-2220.

Interior Health said outbreaks of pertussis and measles in B.C. have highlighted the importance of keeping disease rates low by keeping immunization rates high. The DTaP-IPV vaccine protects against four diseases all in one shot.

Diphtheria is a serious infection of the nose and throat and is spread through the air by sneezing, coughing or directly by skin-to –skin contact.

Tetanus, also known as “lockjaw,” is caused by a germ mostly found in soil that can enter the skin through a cut or scrape.

Pertussis is a serious infection of the lungs and throat that is easily spread by coughing, sneezing or close face-to-face contact.

Polio, although no longer in Canada, still occurs in other parts of the world and can reappear if immunization rates fall.

The chickenpox vaccine is the best way to protect your child against the chickenpox illness and its complications such as pneumonia, encephalitis (swelling of the brain), and bacterial infections of the skin. Encephalitis can lead to convulsions, deafness or brain damage. For some people, the chickenpox virus can become active again later in life and cause a painful rash called shingles.

IH wants to assure the public that the vaccinations are safe.

“It is much safer to get the vaccine than to get sick from the disease. Common reactions to the vaccine include soreness, redness and swelling where the shot was given. These reactions are mild and generally only last one to two days.

If you live outside the Cranbrook area, you can contact your local Public Health Centre for immunization information, to find out when Kindergarten booster clinics are being held in your area, or to book an appointment. Public Health Centres are listed under Health Authorities in the ‘Blue Pages’ of your local Telus telephone directory, or you can visit our website www.interiorhealth.ca and follow the links under Health Services/Service Listings/Public Health Centres. The website www.immunizebc.ca is a good source for information on vaccinations and immunization.