Southern Health-Santé Sud is working to understand why vaccination rates are lower in the Southern region compared to the rest of the province.
Doctor Michael Routledge, Chief Medical Officer of Health for Southern Health-Santé Sud, says they don't know the exact reasons for the vaccine complacency.
One reason that could be swaying people from vaccinating themselves or their children is stories that express concerns over vaccinations, which Routledge says are often incorrect.
A significant vaccination myth that has appeared over the past decade is a correlation between vaccinations and autism, Routledge says no credible evidence suggests there's a link between the two.
"Some studies have been done in the past, that has been proven to be incorrect. One of the things that happen with vaccines is because so many children get them, and they get them at certain ages when you have conditions like autism they'll often be seen at the same time vaccinations are given."
We're living in an ever-growing global society, says Routledge, with more people moving to the Southern Region it could bring diseases from other countries. He says if we don't have the proper protections, we could see an infectious outbreak.
As more people decide not to vaccinate, more cases of eradicated diseases are reappearing. In the US a person infected with measles attended a Portland Trail Blazers game, affecting at least 19 other individuals. In the Southern Region, there have been clusters of pertussis (Whooping Cough) in the Morden, Winkler, and Steinbach areas, which along with data shows people in those pockets of infected areas aren't vaccinating for specific diseases, says Routledge.
"We have seen it in Southern, and that's an additional concern for us wanting to make sure we're talking to people living in the region, making sure they have all the information to make decisions. At the same time, we're looking at our schedule all the time, making sure we're getting at and preventing diseases as much as possible."
According to Routledge vaccines are one of the most significant medical advances we've ever had, protecting the population from potentially harmful infections. He adds that as people learn more about the benefits of vaccinations and the process, they can make an informed decision and often choose to receive the treatment.
Immunization is the process in which a portion of a bacteria or virus which causes infection is given to an individual, allowing the body to develop an immune response without having to deal with the disease.
The infections that people receive immunizations aren't insignificant says Routledge, chicken pox is one example where a disease people believe are mundane is more severe than first perceived. A small percentage of people infected with chicken pox get severe skin infections and sometimes brain infections, which is why the vaccinations are essential says Routledge, to target the routine infections and the more severe ones.
Other vaccinations include tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, pneumococcal, meningitis, and human papillomavirus.
Routledge adds these may seem like a lot, but when compared to the thousands of microbes we're exposed to daily, it's just a drop in the bucket, and by adding new vaccines you're giving additional protections to people.