What is the immune system?

The immune system protects individuals from infections and is the reason vaccines work. The immune system can also contribute to illnesses, such as allergies, hypersensitivity, and autoimmune diseases. For example, type I diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis are major autoimmune diseases. Certain genetic defects as well as diseases such as AIDS and cancer can lead to immunodeficiencies (Canadian Society of Immunology, 2020).

What is immunosuppression?

Immunosuppression, congenital or acquired, is the more or less significant reduction in the immune reactions of an organism against an antigen. Immunocompromised people have an increased risk of serious infections with greater morbidity and mortality (MSSS, 2021).

The terms immunocompromised and immunosuppressed refer to a person with a weakened immune system. The term immunosuppressed implies that this weakening of the immune system is caused by the drugs taken, while the term immunocompromised encompasses all the causes of immune deficiency related to diseases and drugs (Dr. Lara Bilodeau, taken from Living with Cystic Fibrosis, April 2020).


Against the various infections that afflict our society, we are not all equal. Immunocompromised people have long deployed a panoply of protective measures to which we were little aware until the advent of the pandemic. People who are immunocompromised can be numerous (Table 1) and it is likely that we see them on a daily basis without knowing it. Their health conditions lead them to experience isolation and a higher level of stress and anxiety than most of us. Our Foundation aims to facilitate the lives of these people dealing with this problem by raising awareness among the population and developing tools that allow them to be better protected and adapted to their reality.



Bilodeau L. 2020. Questions et réponses. Immunodéprimé vs immunosupprimé. Vire Avec la Fibrose Kystique. 

INESSS, 2020. Personnes immunosupprimées mise à jour, 24 septembre 2020. https://www.inesss.qc.ca/covid-19/presentations-cliniques/personnes-immunosupprimees-mise-a-jour-completee-le-24-09-2020.html

Ministère de la Santé et des Services Sociaux, 2021. Vaccinologie pratique. Immunodépression. https://www.msss.gouv.qc.ca/professionnels/vaccination/piq-vaccinologie-pratique/immunodepression/

Société Canadienne d’Immunologie, 2020. Qu’est-ce que l’immunologie ? https://www.csi-sci.ca/CSI_French/What_Is_Immunology_FR.html