Topic Overview

An overwhelming majority of health professionals, medical researchers, and professional medical organizations (such as the Canadian Paediatric Society and the College of Family Physicians of Canada) recommend immunization. Getting immunized is important for at least two reasons: to protect yourself and to protect those around you. Vaccines are the best way we have to prevent infectious disease. A successful immunization program depends on the co-operation of every person.

  • Vaccinations prevent you or your child from getting diseases for which there are often no medical treatments. These illnesses can result in serious complications and even death.
  • A small number of people may be susceptible to diseases, such as those with impaired immune systems. These people may not be able to get vaccinations or may not develop immunity even after having been vaccinated. Their only protection against certain diseases is for others to get vaccinated so the illnesses are less common.
  • If exposure to a disease occurs in a community, there is little to no risk of an epidemic if people have been immunized.

Improved sanitation, hygiene, and other living conditions have created a generally healthier environment and reduced the risks for disease exposure and infection in Canada. But the dramatic and long-term decrease of diseases is primarily a result of widespread immunizations throughout the Canadian population.

Even though some diseases, such as polio, rarely affect people in Canada, all of the recommended childhood immunizations and booster vaccines are still needed. These diseases still exist in other countries. Travellers can unknowingly bring these diseases into Canada and infect people who have not been immunized. Without the protection from immunizations, these diseases could be imported and could quickly spread through the population, causing epidemics. Non-immunized people living in healthy conditions are not protected from disease. Your body's immune system can fight a disease better and faster if you have had the infection before or if you get immunized.

Related Information


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer William Atkinson, MD, MPH -
Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MD, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics

Current as ofFebruary 20, 2015