Vaccines and immunization
How, and when, to get vaccinated or immunized to protect against preventable diseases like measles, tetanus, whooping cough and chicken pox.
Routine vaccinations for babies, children and adults are offered free of charge.
How to get vaccinated
1. Talk to your doctor or your local public health unit about the vaccines you or your children need.
2. Get the yellow immunization card from your doctor. Bring the card with you to each immunization appointment and keep it in a safe place so you know which vaccines you or your children have received.
3. If your children are in school, report all vaccines your children receive to Family Physician or clinic If your children attend a licensed daycare centre, report all vaccines your children receive to the daycare centre.
Why you should get vaccinated
When you get vaccinated, you make your body stronger and more resistant to disease. No matter how healthy you are, you could get very sick or even die without vaccines to protect you.
When you get vaccines, you protect everyone else around you, too. This includes our most vulnerable people, like very young children and people who are sick or aging.
Many people travel or move from one part of the world to another. If too many people delay or refuse vaccines, we will see more cases of serious diseases here in Ontario – even diseases that have been eliminated here for many years, like measles and polio.
In Canada, we have very strict controls for making vaccines. All vaccines are tested to make sure they are both safe and effective. The most common side effects are mild pain, swelling and redness where the injection was given.
Some infant vaccines may cause a low-grade fever (approximately 38°C) or fussiness for a day or 2 after the injection. Doctors may recommend acetaminophen to prevent fever and pain.
Serious side effects are rare. Please report any side effects or severe reactions to your doctor or public health unit.
If your child misses a vaccination, or you're unsure about which vaccinations they’ve received, talk to your health care provider or your local Public Health Unit to get their vaccination schedule on track.
If your child has special medical conditions or other high risk factors, they may need additional vaccines. Talk to your health care provider or your local Public Health unit about other recommended vaccines.
After 6 months of age, they should also get the flu vaccine every fall.