What you need to know about Canada’s second dose of the polio vaccine

What does B.C.’s second dose of the polio vaccine look like?

The Health Sciences Centre in Vancouver will soon begin offering second doses of the injected polio vaccine to children, which is expected to help tackle the ongoing outbreak of the disease.

Last week, Health Canada asked B.C. to consider the children for two doses of the vaccine. The BC Centre for Disease Control says the move will help protect potentially thousands of children from the crippling disease.

About 70 children have contracted polio so far this year.

“This infection primarily affects children under five years of age, especially those in areas where the vaccine is not being universally offered,” a Health Canada statement said.

Health experts are also saying a shortage of the injected vaccine could be a contributing factor in the widespread infections.

The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta released its updated polio eradication efforts in the United States in October.

What’s the deal with the shortage of that vaccine?

At about 65 million doses, Canada has one of the lowest levels of the injected vaccine, “due to a shortage of the vaccine,” Public Health Ontario wrote in a news release.

“This vaccine is important, because it’s the first step in the process,” said Dr. Andrew Potter, Ontario’s Medical Officer of Health. “Once you have the first dose, you’ve got immunity to polio, so if you don’t have the second dose it’s less likely that you’ll be protected.”

In September, Dr. Marcia Taylor, of the CDC, said the lack of supply had the disease at risk of becoming endemic, which would see the virus spread throughout the world.

But in Canada, only the most severely vulnerable kids who weren’t immunized for polio would get the shot.

“The decision to vaccinate is really individual and up to the individual parent,” Potter said. “If parents do decide against vaccinating, their child will still be adequately protected.”

Children aged six months to seven years who haven’t received the second dose of the injected vaccine will start receiving the shot within a few weeks, Potter said. The Health Sciences Centre plans to begin offering the second dose within 60 days.

It’s important to note, however, that vaccinating children will not stop them from getting a disease like polio.

Instead, it will help protect them in the long run from exposure to the disease if they encounter it during travel abroad. The vaccination is designed to protect them against being exposed to polio by making them immune.

“It is not a silver bullet. It’s not going to keep you completely safe, but it is going to make your risk of getting infection much lower,” Potter said.

The vaccine is also recommended for travel to areas where the virus is endemic.

Potter is also warning people not to rush to fasten seatbelts when riding on a crowded bus. He has said that children are more likely to be injured or even killed in a bus crash than they are from being struck by a bus.

Potter says bus operators should also limit passengers to seated only positions, and use seat belts.

“Just as we train them to get buckled up in a taxi, so they are safer in a car, we also train them to make sure they are buckled up on a bus. That is a very important safety principle,” Potter said.

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