Infant Immunizations

Did you know?

Public Health Nurses can:

  • Provide your child’s vaccines
  • Check your child’s record for other missing routine vaccines
  • Give missing routine vaccines to your child
  • Answer your immunization questions

The importance of getting immunized

Immunization is a healthy choice that saves lives. Vaccines have saved the lives of more babies and children than any other medical intervention in the last 50 years. When you immunize your child you’re protecting them against illness and serious harms such as meningitis, pneumonia, paralysis, deafness, seizures, brain damage or even death.

What diseases do immunizations prevent?

In their first 2 years of life, your child is provided free vaccines to protect against these 14 vaccine-preventable diseases:

  • Diphtheria
  • Tetanus
  • Pertussis
  • Hepatitis B
  • Polio
  • Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib)
  • Meningococcal disease
  • Pneumococcal disease
  • Rotavirus
  • Measles
  • Mumps
  • Rubella (German Measles)
  • Varicella (Chickenpox)
  • Influenza  

For more information about vaccines and the diseases they prevent, see our Diseases & Vaccinations section. 

What age do I start immunizing my child?

To be fully protected, your child will be immunized starting at 2 months of age, then at 4 months, 6 months, 12 months and 18 months. Some immunizations require more than one dose for full protection. That's why it's key to follow the routine schedule. The routine immunization schedule for infants and children in BC can be found here.

Why does immunization start at 2 months of age?

The earliest and safest time to start your child's shots is 2 months of age. Babies and young children who are not immunized are at greatest risk of serious harm should they get sick during the first 2 years of life. 

Follow the routine immunization schedule

For best protection, health care providers advise to follow the routine schedule and to get all shots on time. Delaying or spacing out the vaccines is not recommended and can be risky. The routine schedule is based on the best science of today and is recommended by the Canadian Pediatric Society and the College of Family Physicians of Canada.

Five reasons why it's best to follow the routine immunization schedule:

  1. The routine schedule is safe and works very well.
  2. You will ensure your child is protected as soon as they can be.
  3. You will reduce your child’s risk of anxiety and needle fear.
  4. The risk for side-effects is the same whether it’s one vaccine or four.
  5. You will reduce the number of visits and time spent getting your child's shots.

The Problem With Dr Bob's Alternative Vaccine Schedule: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/123/1/e164.full.

Getting more than one vaccine at a time will not overwhelm your baby’s immune system

Your baby’s immune system is stronger than you may think. Vaccines do not overwhelm or weaken your baby’s immune system. Instead, they make it strong and ready to fight certain diseases. According to science, babies can respond to 10,000 vaccines at one time!

Vaccines are very safe

Vaccines must pass many safety tests before they are ever given to people. After a vaccine is approved for use, its safety is always monitored. It’s much safer to get the vaccine than to get the disease. Serious side effects from vaccines are very rare. 

Did you know? Vaccines are one of the most monitored and studied things in medicine because they are given to healthy babies and children.

For more information about vaccine safety, see our Vaccine Safety page.

Where do I get my child immunized?

You can take your child to your local public health unit for their immunizations. Some doctors, nurse practitioners and midwives also provide immunizations. To avoid waitlists, call for your child's 2 month appointment soon after they are born. For other visits, call well in advance. 

Keep a record

Without a record or proof of having had a disease your child is considered unimmunized and unprotected. Take your baby’s Child Health Passport or an immunization record with you to each visit and have your health care provider fill it out. This is important because health care providers in BC can’t easily share records at this time. You may need this record later on to register your child for daycare, school, summer camps, college or university, and for some travel. 

Questions?

You can call your local public health unit and ask to speak to a Public Health Nurse or speak to your primary health care provider.

For common questions about childhood immunizations, please see Childhood Immunizations - Questions & Answers