KRIS ABEL

App Pick - Immunize Canada

Posted By: Kris Abel · 4/7/2014 6:00:00 AM

With outbreaks of both measles and whooping cough being reported throughout Canada, now is a good time to update your family’s vaccinations.

Immunize Canada

iPhone/Android

Free

The main menu screen with a picture of a baby

This handy guide from the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute will provide you with the vaccination schedule for your province, help you look up each vaccine in detail, and keep a personal-use record for each member of your family.

It includes easy-to-understand guides on reducing pain and a large reference section so you can get answers to an impressive number of questions and concerns.

There’s also an alert system and a GPS tool that will help you be aware of reported outbreaks in your area.

GPS screen displaying local outbreaks

Both measles and whooping cough are highly contagious diseases that are easily controlled through immunization. They have resurfaced simply because a growing number of people have chosen to skip their vaccinations. Please don’t make that simple mistake.

 

In Praise of Milk Maids and Rural Remedies

Given the rural, country origins of immunization it’s hard to take anti-vaccination websites seriously when they proclaim to promote more “natural” solutions instead.

We owe a great deal to 18th century milk maids. They had a remedy that seemed crazy at the time. By exposing themselves to the pus of infected cows, they proclaimed, they could protect themselves against smallpox. Given how devastating the disease is, this seemed way too good to be true.

Although there were scientists at the time that were looking into the connection between cow pox and smallpox, it took a country doctor, Edward Jennings, to take the milk maids’ claims seriously and perform the rigorous tests that proved the idea worked. If you are infected with cowpox, a disease you can overcome, it can prepare your immune system to defend itself from smallpox, a disease that is deadly.

Jennings coined the phrase Vaccination after the word Vacca, meaning cow as a nod to its origins.

Acceptance of new innovations doesn’t come easy and it would be more than one hundred and fifty years later before their smallpox vaccination was put to significant use in controlling the disease around the world.

The global effort to eradicate small pox in the 1960’s remains one of humanity’s greatest achievements, a rare and exceptional moment of international collaboration under the World Health Organization that we should celebrate with more pride than any victory in war.

Those who resent the involvement of large organizations in vaccination programs need to remember that just a generation ago smallpox infected ten million people and killed two million each year. When you face those kinds of numbers, not just for one disease, but other large outbreaks for polio, measles, and rubella, the need for mass-production resources is unavoidable.

The difficult battle to get the world to accept a medical treatment used by country folk has already been tirelessly fought and won a long time ago. Why those who seek to promote a return to such values would so easily throw away such a victory is beyond me.

The use of vaccinations has dramatically reduced infant mortality rates, curbed devastating disease, and taken us from an era when dying young from illness was common to our present day where it’s become a headline that shocks us.

We should be looking for new ways to bring the world together rather than tearing apart one of the few great examples we have left to follow.

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