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Thursday, May 3, 2018

AHS website answers immunization questions

Laurie Pristie, Public Health Nurse, Alberta Health Services

Laurie Pristie, AHS - What immunizations does my kid need? It’s a common question we hear at Public Health. The search for reputable, evidence-based information on the Internet can often be an overwhelming and frustrating experience. You might ask yourself, where do I even begin? Well, did you know Alberta Health Services (AHS) has developed a user-friendly website that can support parents and caregivers to answer this question and many more with only a few taps of the iPad?   The provincial website www.immunizealberta.ca provides full transparency on the routine immunization schedule from infancy all the way to adult boosters.

This website connects the user to trustworthy information on vaccine-preventable diseases and common questions parents ask. When there is a change to the routine immunization schedule the site is updated to reflect this. It is recommended for parents to view the website and understand what they are consenting to prior to the appointment. The nurse at the appointment will be happy to answer any additional questions you may have.

Alright, now I know where to look for the Alberta immunization schedule and answers to common questions; but I’m still thirsty for knowledge. Where should I go to learn more about vaccines? Canadian Immunization guide from Public Health Agency of Canada www.canada.ca provides the public with valuable vaccine information as well. Information about how vaccines are regulated and approved, vaccine safety and quality are all available here.

Simply go to the website, click on Health-More on the top bar and a link to the Canadian Immunization Guide will be on the hand right side of the page. www.immunize.ca is another example of a Canadian website that provides both public and healthcare providers with reliable information.

I have heard the terms ‘immunization’ and ‘vaccine’ - what is the difference? “Immunization is the process whereby a person is made immune or resistant to an infectious disease, typically by the administration of a vaccine.” (World Health Organization, 2018).

These are just a few of the many trustworthy sites that exist. We encourage parents to become familiar with these resources in order to make an informed decision for their child’s health. Remember “immunization is a proven tool for controlling and eliminating life-threatening infectious diseases and is estimated to avert between two and three million deaths each year.” (World Health Organization, 2018).

Laurie Pristie is a Public Health Nurse with Alberta Health Services and can be reached by e-mail: laurie.pristie@ahs.ca

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