On Monday, Dec. 12, Scotiabank Arena will host a mass vaccination clinic for people who have one or more medical conditions that make it difficult to be vaccinated. The organizers expect around 16,000 people will benefit from the clinic, including parents, children, and caregivers.
A registered nurse and trained nurse practitioner will be on hand to assist people who are unsure of their medical condition, as well as offer information on whether they are eligible for the vaccine.
The measles vaccine is one of the most highly immunogenic vaccines in the world, and according to the Scotiabank Arena website, there have been 16 incidents in Canada involving measles since 2002.
While there is no available data for vaccinations of children under the age of one that will protect children in the event of an outbreak, several doctors note the benefits of vaccinating infants. A recent article in Lancet argues vaccines are at least as safe as driving their parents to the doctor’s office.
In the past, in select municipalities in Canada, pediatricians have had the option to donate the unused vaccine that doctors refuse to administer to their patients, but such services are not available in Alberta. According to the Scotiabank Arena’s website, the upcoming clinic will be different from those in past years, and rather than giving the remainder of their doses to the community, the clinic will have a “maximum of only a small fraction of the normal dose.”
Cain Scott, president of Healthy Kids Canada, an organization that supports family and community focused vaccination programs, was unable to comment on the topic specifically, but spoke with The WorldPost about reasons why families may be concerned about a vaccine not producing long-term immunity.
Scott said the prevalence of the measles virus around the world is proof that these vaccines don’t provide long-term immunity, but he reassured that the vaccination still produces long-term immunity for the child, but it takes longer. A vaccine that can protect a child up to 5 to 10 years old will typically contain between 25 and 65 protection.
“It’s about getting the child immunized as soon as possible,” Scott said. Scott said young children can’t take time off from school to get vaccinated, and as a result, many parents may wait until their child is older before getting vaccinated.
Scott also said it is important to remember how people can protect themselves from these diseases, by regularly washing their hands and getting vaccinated. He added that vaccines can be improved and enhanced in the future if demand is high.
Measles, mumps, rubella, varicella and hepatitis B are all diseases that are common among people of all ages and cultures, according to the World Health Organization. With fewer deaths occurring from all of these diseases than from extreme weather events such as heat waves and droughts, public health experts wonder why there are still vaccination rates at a high when the benefits are so readily apparent.