Interior Health encourages child vaccination

Particular concern right now is the potential spread of pertussis, also known as whooping cough.

  • May. 1, 2016 11:00 a.m.

Interior Health is reminding parents and caregivers to make sure their children’s immunizations are up to date. This timely reminder comes as pertussis cases continue to occur in several Interior Health communities.

Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a serious infection of the lungs and throat. Pertussis can affect individuals of any age; however, its effects are most severe among infants who are too young to be fully immunized.

“Pertussis starts with symptoms similar to the common cold – a runny nose, sore throat and a mild fever. It then progresses to a cough that can become severe. In some cases, the cough may include the classic whooping sound and it may be accompanied by gasping, gagging, shortness of breath and vomiting,” said Dr. Silvina Mema, Medical Health Officer with Interior Health. “Young infants are at highest risk of complications, which include pneumonia, seizures, brain damage and even death.”

Immunization is the best way to prevent the spread of pertussis. The vaccine is part of BC’s routine childhood immunization schedule. A complete series consists of three doses of pertussis vaccine at 2, 4, and 6 months followed by boosters at 18 months old and at 4-6 years of age (Kindergarten). Because immunity to pertussis from childhood vaccines wanes over time, it is also recommended that a booster is given at 14 to 16 years of age (Grade 9).

“The BC Immunization Schedule is based on scientific evidence. It has been developed to protect children from getting diseases at the times when they are most at risk,” added Dr. Mema. “Because of this it is very important that children are up to date with their immunizations.”

Nick Robinson, a father of two boys believes strongly that getting his children immunized is an important part of being a parent and a community member.

“I believe everyone has a role to play to protect the community from vaccine preventable diseases and outbreaks,” said Robinson. “I think there is a tendency for people to question immunization because they think the natural ways are safer but that’s not always the case. Polio is natural, death from measles is natural – any risks from vaccinations are tiny by comparison. As parents, we have paid close attention to the evidence; for us, it was a no-brainer to give our kids all the recommended vaccines on time.”

High immunization rates are the key to preventing diseases like pertussis from affecting our communities. When most people are vaccinated for a disease, it makes it harder for the disease to spread from person to person. This is known as “herd immunity”, which helps ensure those who are most vulnerable to diseases are protected. In Interior Health, 68 per cent of children are fully up to date with all the recommended immunizations by two years of age.

For more information on immunization:

·  Call your local public health centre. To find a health centre near you visit the website:

·  Read our immunization page :


Just Posted

Getting into the swing of spring

Kelowna garden shop is busy now that spring has finally arrived

Axe the tax says Kelowna city council

City says it wants B.C.’s Speculation Tax dumped because it could have a significant impact here

Murder charges upgraded for Kelowna man accused of killing wife and daughters

Crown approved new information on Jacob Forman’s file

Kelowna council ‘dumps’ Diamond Mountain development proposal

Location near city’s landfill prompts council to refuse to approve area structure plan for the land

Lake Country brain injury service expanding

CONNECT Communities is expanding to Hamilton, Ontario

Rainy week ahead for Okanagan and Shuswap

Environment Canada is forecast rain for the next three days, starting Tuesday afternoon

Viewer Photos: First day of Spring around British Columbia

Our loyal viewers sent us some of their favourite Spring photos from all corners of the province

Five Canadian kids charged with making school threats

Police say online threats are on the rise

Not even Ellen DeGeneres can get Virtue, Moir to say they’re more than friends

Tessa Virtue, Scott Moir appeared on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” Tuesday

RCMP warn public to stop pouring gas on fires after three incidents

Police responded to three recent incidents that sent seven people to hospital

Elke’s Garden Tips: To prune or not to prune

Lake Country garden coach talks pruning in her weekly column

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

BCHL Today: Surrey Eagles in the driver’s seat and Ethan Martini takes a seat

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Suspect bear sprays Good Samaritan

Incident happens St. Patrick’s Day on Highway 6 near Lumby

Most Read