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Adjuvant: an agent added to a vaccine that helps improve the immune response to the vaccine.

Adverse events following immunization (AEFIs): an unfavourable health occurrence experience following immunization.

Aluminum salt: aluminum compounds used in many consumer products. In vaccines, it is an adjuvant that helps the vaccine to enhance the body’s immune response.

Anaphylaxis: a severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction to foods, medications, insect venom or latex. In response to a trigger, the immune system releases chemicals that can cause the person to go into shock, blocking breathing.

Antibodies: a protein produced by the white blood cells of the body used to defend the body against pathogens, like bacteria and viruses. An antibody will recognize a pathogen by its unique molecule called an antigen and another “memory” antibody will be kept in the white blood cells so that any future exposure to the pathogen can be dealt with swiftly by these antibodies. Antigen: a molecular structure on the outside of a pathogen.

Antigens: usually trigger an immune response to get rid of the foreign pathogen.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): a developmental disorder that affects communication and behaviour.

Bias: a view of an idea or thing that is disproportionately weighed in favour of or against it in a way that can be prejudicial or unfair.

Blood brain barrier: a border of cells that are highly selective and prevent things that are circulating in the blood from crossing into the fluid of the central nervous system. The blood brain barrier keeps toxins and pathogens from reaching the brain while also allowing nutrients through.

Case-control study: observes and compares two existing groups differing in outcome to identify a cause, or risk factor associated with that disease. The case group would have the disease and the control group would be made up of similar types of people but would not have the disease.

Clinical trial: research investigations in which people volunteer to test new treatments, interventions or tests

Cohort study: is concerned with the frequency of disease in exposed and non-exposed people. A cohort is a group of people who share a defining characteristic, such as an allergic reaction) are followed prospectively (into the future).

Data: the facts and statistics collected for reference or analysis

Effectiveness: in medicine, refers to how well a treatment or intervention works in practice (as opposed to how well it works in studies)

Ethyl mercury: a preservative found in substances like thimerosal. Ethyl mercury less likely to accumulate in the body and cause harm than methylmercury (which makes its way through the food chain in fish, animals and humans).

Frequency (of side effects, reactions and AEFIs): how often or the number of times something happens over a period of time

GRADE: (Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluations) is a framework that provides a systematic approach for making clinical practice recommendations.

Health equity: giving groups of people what they need to reach their best health.

Herd protection or herd immunity: a form of immunity; when vaccination or infection of a significant portion of the population (“herd”) in turn provides protection for those who have not had the infection or received the vaccination.

Immune system: a network within your body of cells, proteins, tissues and organs that defend the body against infection.

Immunization: also known as vaccination is the process whereby a vaccine triggers an immune response (as if exposed to the disease). The vaccine does not cause the disease itself.

Immunocompromised: a person who has a weakened immune system. Cancer, Type 1 Diabetes and age can make a person immunocompromised. Severely immunocompromised people should not receive live vaccines.

Incidence: the occurrence or frequency of a disease within a population or area.

Morbidity: is any physical or psychological state considered to be outside the realm of normal well-being. It is often used to describe illness or impairment.

Mortality: a term used for “death rate”, or the number of deaths in a certain group of people in a certain period.

Newborn outcomes: occurrences to babies up to 6 weeks of age as a result of birth or pregnancy

Observational studies: a study where researchers observe the effect of an intervention without trying to change who is or isn’t exposed to it.

Public health: the health of a population.

Public health measures: non-medical interventions used to reduce the spread of disease.

Randomized control trial (RCT): is a type of scientific study that aims to reduce bias when testing the effectiveness of an intervention. It may also provide information about adverse effects. People are randomly assigned to groups, the groups are treated differently, then compared for their response to the intervention. One group – the experimental group – receives the intervention, while the other group – the control group – does not. The study may be blinded, meaning that information that might influence the participants or researchers is withheld. A well-blinded RCT is often considered the gold standard of science studies

Residential schools: government-sponsored religious schools designed to remove Indigenous children from their communities and assimilate them into “Canadian society”. Residential schools were established in the late 19th century and the last residential school closed in the 1990s.

Respiratory secretions: droplets from the respiratory tract (nose, mouth, throat) that are transferred into the air through talking, laughing, sneezing, coughing, etc.

Respiratory viruses: a virus that affects the lungs and airways; often spread through contact with mucus from the mouth and nose.

Risk factors: something that increases a person’s chances for developing a disease (eg. cigarette smoking is a risk factor for lung cancer).
Social Determinants of health: the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age that influence their health. Health is determined by complex interactions between social and economic factors, the physical environment and individual behaviour.

Theoretically: according to theory rather than experience or practice.

Transmission: the act of passing something (like a virus) from one person to another.

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