Heralded as one of the greatest medical breakthroughs of modern times, why are proven-effective vaccines suddenly getting such a bad rap?

Dr. Scott Halperin, Nominated Principal Investigator, Canadian Immunization Research Network; Director, Canadian Center for Vaccinology; Professor, Pediatrics and Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University

Dr. Scott Halperin has dedicated his career to inspiring confidence amongst Canadians that the most effective way to prevent the spread of infectious diseases continues to be through vaccination. By demonstrating the judicious testing that each vaccine undergoes before introduced into publicly funded immunization programs, Dr. Halperin is combating misinformation with fact, reassuring us that the decision to vaccinate ourselves, and our children, is a wise one.

From their inception in the early 1800s to the 1940s, when scientific advancements ushered in an era of robust public health programs in population disease control, vaccines have saved countless lives. Thanks to them, serious infectious diseases such as smallpox, whooping cough, mumps, and measles are either controlled or eradicated all together.

Today, robust national vaccination programs for infants, children, and adults are making a difference in the lives of Canadians, stemming the tide of once deadly infections. Recently, the Government of Canada announced its Vaccine Preventable Disease Reduction Targets by 2025, an ambitious program designed to continue Canadian efforts to reduce or eliminate infectious diseases.

Helping to realize this ambitious goal is Dr. Scott Halperin, head of the Canadian Immunization Research Network (CIRN), a national network that boasts more than 200 investigators working in 40 institutions across Canada. Dr. Halperin is leading efforts to assess vaccine safety and determine how well vaccines are working. The team at CIRN also evaluates the public’s response to vaccine programs, and examines strategies to address parents’ and clinicians' concerns about the efficacy and safety of vaccination. Combatting misinformation with fact, Dr. Halperin and his colleagues are helping Canadians decide how they will deal with the very real risk presented by infectious diseases and the protective value of vaccination.

Funding for CIRN from the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research provides the critical infrastructure that allows us to provide public health with information to make evidence based decisions and policy. CIHR funding ensures that the necessary expertise is available to provide a rapid research response to new or re-emerging infectious diseases.

Date modified: