Why should I have my baby immunized?
Immunization is the best way to protect your child against many serious diseases. Thanks to immunization, many diseases are not common in Canada, but the germs that cause these diseases still exist.
What diseases do immunizations protect against?
British Columbia provides publicly funded immunizations to protect your child against these diseases: measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, Haemophilus influenzae type b disease (Hib), chicken pox, pneumococcal and meningococcal diseases, and human papilloma virus (for girls). Without getting immunizations, your child could get very sick.
What about the “flu”?
The influenza immunization protects against viruses that cause influenza – often called the “flu.” The virus changes (mutates) every year, which means a new seasonal flu immunization must be given every year. Children 6‑23 months of age can get free influenza immunizations. Older children with certain health conditions can also get free influenza vaccine. Ask your health care provider or public health nurse whether your baby needs to be immunized for the flu.
Are immunizations safe?
Yes, immunizations are very safe. Sometimes immunizations can cause temporary side effects, such as soreness where the needle went into the arm or leg or a slight fever. Serious side effects from immunizations are very rare. The risks of the disease are much higher than a risk of a serious reaction from the immunization.
How can I keep my child’s immunizations up‑to‑date?
Keeping a record will help you keep your child’s immunizations up to date. Ask your public health nurse for a Child Health Passport to help you keep track of your child’s immunizations. Always take your child’s record with you when he or she gets immunizations.
When should I have my child immunized?
Your child’s first shots begin at two months of age. Some immunizations are only given once or twice, and some need to be given over a period of time. For more information about the immunization schedule, visit the ImmunizeBC website.