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Vaccination

Vaccination

Why Get Vaccinated?

Vaccination against harmful diseases is extremely important for the health of everyone. Vaccination is important for both yourself and the people around you. People who do not get vaccinated are vulnerable to a whole host of preventable diseases, such as: shingles, HPV, flu, and many more. In addition, if you become infected with a vaccine preventable disease, you may pass it onto more vulnerable populations, such as children or the elderly, which could prove very serious for them. Some populations (like the seriously ill) who cannot get vaccinated depend on those around them to be vaccinated to stop the spread of disease and keep them safe.

child vaccination

Who Should Get Vaccinated?

Infants and school age children are provided with required vaccines early in life as part of a structured vaccination program to keep them healthy. For instance, all grade 7 students in Ontario can get the HPV vaccine for free at their school1. Vaccines are equally important for adults, yet without a structured process to remind them, many adults do not maintain their routine vaccinations.

In addition to routine vaccinations, there are many vaccines available for adults that can be extremely beneficial to individuals based on certain criteria, including age, lifestyle plans (e.g. travel) or risk factors due to underlying health conditions such as the shingles vaccine.

If you plan to travel, vaccination against certain diseases is recommended before travelling to many common destinations. You should discuss travel plans with your pharmacist or other healthcare provider at least 6 weeks prior to travelling to determine if any vaccines are required and to ensure you have adequate time to receive these vaccines prior to your departure.

There are also certain health conditions where a health care professional may advise against the use of a particular vaccine. Your pharmacist can assist you with determining if a vaccination is appropriate in the circumstances.


How Do Vaccines Work?

Vaccines help your body to produce an immune response against a disease and thus provides you future protection. When you get vaccinated the following occurs: your body recognizes a foreign invader (e.g. virus or bacteria) that does not belong. As a response, your immune system produces antibodies to fight the foreign invader and provides you protection against future infection (since your body remembers how to fight the foreign invader). Vaccines themselves are usually harmless, but they teach our bodies to recognize and fight viral and bacterial disease without getting sick.


When Should You Get Vaccinated?

Vaccines are recommended for all age groups. However, the vaccination schedule for each individual vaccine may differ. For instance, the flu shot is recommended yearly for everyone above 6 months old2. Other vaccines in Ontario have a routine immunization schedule for children and recommendations for adult immunizations. See ‘Table 1: Routine Childhood Immunization Schedule’ for an immunization chart for childhood vaccines.


Table 1: Routine Childhood Immunization Schedule2

Recommended immunization schedule for routine vaccines during childhood:

VACCINE2 Months4 Months6 Months
Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, haemophilus influenzae type b (DTaP-IPV-Hib)XXX
Rotavirus (Rot-5) XXX
Pneumococcal conjugate (Pneu-C-13) XX 
VACCINE12 Months15 Months18 Months
Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, haemophilus influenzae type b (DTaP-IPV-Hib)  X
Pneumococcal conjugate (Pneu-C-13) X  
Meningococcal conjugate (Men-C-C) X  
Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) X  
Varicella (chickenpox) (Var) X 
VACCINE4-6 YearsGrade 714-16 Years
Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis and polio (Tdap-IPV)X  
Measles, Mumps, Rubella and Varicella (MMRV) X  
Meningococcal conjugate (Men-C-ACYW) X 
Hepatitis B (HP) X 
Human Papillomavirus (HPV)  X 
Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap)   X
  • In adults, a booster shot of tetanus and diphtheria (Td) is recommended every 10 years after the primary immunizing course of tetanus toxoid in childhood2
  • For adults age 50 and up, the shingles vaccine is available3 and can prevent or significantly reduce the severity of shingles.
  • For adults age 65 and above, the pneumococcal polysaccharide (Pneu-P-23) vaccine is recommended. This vaccine protects against pneumococcal infections like pneumonia and other infections caused by 23 types of Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria2.


Anyone travelling outside of Canada may also require a travel vaccine(s). Travel outside of Canada may lead to exposure to vaccine preventable diseases. Six weeks before travel, consultation with a health care provider or travel health clinic is advised in order to discuss:

  • Immunization history
  • Vaccination schedule is up-to-date
  • Assess needs (including travel vaccines) based on patient demographic, travel area and activities planned4


Pharmacists are also a good resource for routine and travel vaccination information.


Everything You Need to Know about Pharmacy Vaccination

Pharmacists can both vaccinate you against certain diseases and provide vaccine information. Whether you have questions about routine vaccinations or vaccines for special situations, our pharmacists can help to assess your vaccine needs. Our pharmacists can tell you how to obtain the vaccines that you need and administer many vaccines right at the pharmacy* including vaccines for:
 

  1. Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG)
  2. Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
  3. Hepatitis A
  4. Hepatitis B
  5. Herpes Zoster (Shingles)
  6. Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
  7. Influenza (Flu)
  8. Japanese Encephalitis
  9. Meningococcal disease
  10. Pneumococcal disease
  11. Rabies
  12. Typhoid
  13. Varicella
  14. Yellow Fever


Pharmacists can be a valuable resource to help you fully understand the vaccine options that exist. They can talk to you about your vaccination history and help you understand which vaccines are recommended for you as well as make medical recommendations to physicians.

Find a pharmacy location close to you and ask our pharmacist about getting vaccinated.

*Prescription may be required. Applicable vaccine cost and professional fees apply.


    References:

  1. Government of Ontario. Getting the HPV vaccine. Retrieved 12 March 2021, from https://www.ontario.ca/page/getting-hpv-vaccine
  2. Ontario Ministry of Health. Ontario’s Routine Immunization Schedule. Retrieved 9 March 2021, from https://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/public/programs/immunization/static/immunization_tool.html
  3. Government of Canada. Herpes zoster (shingles) vaccine: Canadian Immunization Guide. Retrieved 19 March 2021, from https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/healthy-living/canadian-immunization-guide-part-4-active-vaccines/page-8-herpes-zoster-(shingles)-vaccine.html
  4. Government of Canada. Travel vaccinations. Retrieved 9 March 2021, from https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/vaccines


The information in this resource is for general information purposes only and is not intended to replace informed medical advice. Metro Ontario Pharmacies Limited assumes no legal liability for the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of the information.

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