While it’s not something we think about day-to-day, vaccines play a critical role in keeping you, your loved ones, and your community safe from infectious diseases. A vaccine is a way for your body to build its natural immunity to a disease.1 Unlike most medicines that treat or cure diseases, vaccines work to prevent you from getting sick in the first place.1 Vaccination is very safe and has saved more lives in Canada than any other medical treatment in the past 50 years.2
Shoppers Drug Mart® has been administering certain vaccinations and immunizations to the general public for many years and want to make sure everyone is confident and informed about the vaccinations they receive. Here’s a few important details on why vaccinations and immunizations are important for you and your loved ones.
Influenza, also known as the “flu”, is a contagious virus that can affect anyone. The type of influenza viruses that cause the flu tend to change year to year, requiring a new vaccine annually. Receiving a flu shot years ago does not protect you from any new flu virus spreading today, and the effectiveness of the flu shot can wear off.3 While flu shot effectiveness can vary, the majority of people who receive a vaccination or immunization will benefit from it, while also helping to protect more vulnerable people they interact with. All Canadians over 6 months of age should get a flu shot every season with rare exceptions for people with certain health conditions.3
In certain provinces and for certain age groups, we can provide on-site administration of flu vaccinations at no cost by one of our Injection Certified Pharmacists. Speak with a pharmacist at any Shoppers Drug Mart® location to see if this service is available for you.
Vaccinations should be considered a key part of your preparations for travelling, just as much as looking at local restaurants or accommodations. No matter where you’re travelling to, you may be at risk of being exposed to different diseases not commonly prevalent in Canada.
Infections like hepatitis A & B, yellow fever, typhoid and cholera can be dangerous to contract, but you can protect yourself with a simple vaccination before you leave.4
Your best option is to speak with a healthcare provider or a pharmacist at one of our Shoppers Drug Mart® locations at least six weeks before you plan to travel. This ensures that there is enough time to determine your immunization history, any trip-related health concerns, and get properly scheduled for any vaccines you need.4 Depending on where you’re headed, we can help you stay healthy by providing essential information regarding specific travel immunizations based on your destination and health needs.
Vaccinations are not just for children. As we get older, the vaccines we received in our younger age begin to wear off, and we slowly become susceptible to a greater range of diseases requiring protection through vaccination.5 By keeping up with vaccinations, you can ensure that you stay healthy and can help prevent the spread of disease to other people, especially those at higher risk for infection.5
Vaccinations are especially important for women who are planning for pregnancy. They protect you and your unborn baby from serious illness, which can cause birth defects, miscarriage or premature birth. Certain vaccines can’t be given during pregnancy so it is important to make sure you are up to date before getting pregnant. Also, if there is a newborn or a pregnant person in the home, it’s also important for all household member to stay up to date on their vaccines. 6
If you’re unsure where to begin, reach out to either your healthcare provider, or an in-store pharmacist at one of our Shoppers Drug Mart® locations, for more advice based on your vaccination history and what vaccinations you could be missing now.
It’s important to stay up to date on your flu shots and vaccinations to protect you and your loved ones. Click here to find your nearest Shoppers Drug Mart® location.
Here are some other articles you may be interested in:
- What are vaccines? (2020). ImmunizeBC. Retrieved from: https://immunizebc.ca/what-are-vaccines. Accessed July 10, 2020.
- Why vaccinate? (2020). ImmunizeBC. Retrieved from: https://immunizebc.ca/why-vaccinate. Accessed July 10, 2020.
- Flu (influenza): Get your flu shot. Government of Canada. (2019). https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/flu-influenza/get-your-flu-shot.html. Accessed July 9, 2020.
- Travel Vaccinations. Government of Canada. (2020). https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/vaccines. Accessed July 9, 2020
- Vaccination for adults. Government of Canada. (2019). https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/vaccination-adults.html. Accessed July 9, 2020.
- Vaccination and pregnancy. Government of Canada (2015). https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/vaccination-pregnancy.html. Accessed July 10. 2020.