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Understanding Vaccines

A Life Well-Lived Starts with Protection from Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

young african american family
young african american family

Sanofi’s contributions to a future filled with hope.

Vaccines help protect us. They defend us from diseases and let us focus on the future. They give us a chance to appreciate the little things in life and to pursue our dreams.

From birth to old age, the right vaccine at the right stage of life can make all the difference. One of the most effective measures to keep ourselves, our families, and our communities healthy is disease prevention through immunization. In Canada, immunization has proven to be one of the most impactful health interventions over the last 50 years.1

Did you know that two to three million deaths are prevented globally each year because of immunization against diseases like diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, influenza, and measles?2

“At Sanofi, we work every day to produce vaccines to keep the most vulnerable among us safe. As a father to three children and as a son to elderly parents, preventative health care for my family is a priority and a gift that everyone should benefit from,” says Jean-Pierre Baylet, General Manager, Vaccines, Sanofi Canada.

“Carrying forward the legacy of vaccine manufacturing in Canada, and triumphs where Canadians contributed to eradicating polio in North America and smallpox worldwide, is something that inspires the work we do every day — to develop new vaccine technology here that serves public health needs now and in the future.”

One of Sanofi’s goals is to help protect babies here and around the world from infectious diseases. Toward this goal, Sanofi produces paediatric vaccines right here in Canada that help prevent whooping cough, diphtheria, and tetanus.


Chasing miracles — innovating for the most vulnerable

We beat pathogens at their own game by studying their every move, zeroing in on their greatest vulnerabilities, and designing the best defences.

“Paediatric vaccines now protect against many life-threatening diseases for the most vulnerable, but there are still devastating diseases that continue to spread,” says Kimberly Matheson, Global Head, Vaccines CMC Development & Supply, Sanofi. “In the scientific community, we continue to make strides in developing innovative solutions to protect against infectious diseases. Among these efforts is our pursuit of protection against respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV. RSV is a common viral respiratory infection that can progress rapidly to become a serious lung infection and cause other complications such as pneumonia or bronchiolitis.”

Scientific innovations are moving us closer to the day when physicians will have access to effective immunizing tools to routinely help protect vulnerable populations from severe outcomes.

Living life to the fullest

With public health restrictions mostly lifted across Canada, that means we’re again resuming social activities. Children are back at school, university classes are face-to-face again, and extracurricular activities have resumed. For many people, it’s a tremendous relief to get back to normal.

“With the disruption to routine health care caused by COVID-19, we need to be vigilant to ensure vaccinations remain up to date to avoid potential impacts to our children,” says Dr. Sophia Kajla, Head, Medical Affairs, Vaccines, Sanofi Canada. “Prevention is in our hands for many transmissible diseases that circulate locally.”

Meningococcal meningitis, for example, is a complex disease that can be transmitted unknowingly among those not showing any symptoms. In rare cases, and in a disproportionate number of young children, teenagers, and young adults, an infection can result in disability or death. Thankfully, meningitis transmission in Canada is low and immunizations are available to help reduce the risk of serious outcomes.

“Routine immunizations contribute to our ability to enjoy our lives by reducing the risks associated with unexpected infections and serious complications,” says Dr. Kajla.

The right protection for you

Everyone deserves a chance to dream big. At Sanofi, our vaccines make it possible by helping to prevent diseases and reduce the severity of infections in people of all ages, the world over.

Everyone can catch the seasonal flu and while it can be mild and a minor inconvenience for some, choosing to get your flu shot means avoiding potential consequences for yourself and for others around you.

Did you know that catching the flu can have serious impacts on the body’s major organ systems? For adults over 65, that can include an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.3 Worst of all, this could lead to a loss of independence later in life.4

“As we age, our immune system changes, which generally means we’re at higher risk of infections and less responsive to regular vaccines,” explains Dr. Bruce Seet, Director, Medical Affairs, Vaccines, Sanofi Canada. “The development of vaccines specifically made for older adults is helping to address this heightened vulnerability. For example, we aim to reduce the broader burden of influenza and other respiratory pathogens with new technologies and innovative vaccine designs.”

A future filled with hope

“There are many independent and credible resources available online to learn more about immunization and how it works to prevent or reduce the impact of diseases, such as the World Health Organization, Immunize Canada, and regional public health units across Canada. It’s critical that we do our part to understand and act,” says Baylet.

The World Health Organization promotes World Immunization Week every year to celebrate the successes of defeating vaccine-preventable diseases. It also draws attention to countries around the world that need support to beat preventable diseases.

“Vaccine equity is our responsibility — to make sure that we’re making true strides to improve global public health,” adds Baylet.

Sanofi partners with public health officials, physicians, and scientists to improve access to life-protecting vaccines and to increase global vaccination coverage by donating over 450 million vaccine doses annually.

We believe that everyone should look forward to a future filled with hope.

Jean Pierre Baylet General Manager Vaccines Sanofi Canada

Jean-Pierre Baylet

General Manager, Vaccines, Sanofi Canada

Kimberly Matheson

Global Head, Vaccines CMC Development & Supply, Sanofi

Dr. Sophia Kajla Head, Medical Affairs, Vaccines, Sanofi Canada

Dr. Sophia Kajla

Head, Medical Affairs, Vaccines, Sanofi Canada

Dr. Bruce Seet Director, Medical Affairs, Vaccines, Sanofi Canada

Dr. Bruce Seet

Director, Medical Affairs, Vaccines, Sanofi Canada

This article was made possible with support from Sanofi Canada.


1 Immunize Canada. Accessed April 7, 2022.
2 Vaccines and Immunization. World Health Organization. https://www.who. int/health-topics/vaccines-and-immunization#tab=tab_1. 2022. Accessed April 7, 2022.
3 Warren-Gash C, et al. Eur respir J. 2018 Mar 29;51(3):1701794.
4 Andrew MK et al. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2021 Mar;69(3):696-703.

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