OTTAWA, May 2, 2021 /CNW/ – This past week was National Immunization Awareness Week (NIAW), an annual event that serves to highlight the importance of immunization, and which I discussed in some detail in last week’s Sunday Edition. Over the course of this week, I have had the opportunity to participate in a number of virtual events and to connect with people across Canada on the important topic of vaccination. Meeting, talking with, and learning from people in the many different communities across the country is one the most interesting and rewarding parts of my job as Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer.
Reflecting on the discussions of the past week, I continue to be heartened by the personal stories that have been shared with me about COVID-19 vaccination – individuals and their family members eagerly being vaccinated, as well as the kindness and compassion demonstrated by others who helped facilitate this process for them. These stories are often compared and contrasted with stories of the past; stories of serious personal or family accounts of challenges posed by other infectious diseases, at a time when vaccination was not common, or more gravely, not possible.
You don’t have to look far to find stories like these. It is likely that you have similar stories rooted in your own family history, perhaps a parent, grandparent, great aunt or uncle who was directly impacted by a disease such as polio. It is worth encouraging family members and friends to share these experiences. Each of these stories, from different points in time, and possibly from different places around the world, make up an important part of our global public health history. They also enhance our appreciation for the significant role that vaccines can play in preventing and controlling serious, life altering and sometimes fatal diseases, in Canada and around the world.
In this spirit, today’s Sunday Edition is focused on Canada’s history, highlighting some of our country’s remarkable contributions on the vaccine front – past and present.
Polio Vaccines: Reflecting on Canada’s Research Contributions
Polio, or poliomyelitis, is a highly infectious disease caused by the poliovirus,