What you should know

Canada has one of the best vaccine safety programs in the world. Here are some important things you should know about vaccine safety:

The safety of each vaccine is thoroughly studied before it is approved for use.

Vaccine Safety in Canada

By the time a vaccine is approved for use in Canada, its safety will have been studied for many years through a variety of methods. It can take 10 years or longer for a vaccine to be developed, tested, and finally approved for use by Health Canada. This process takes a long time in order to gather all the scientific information necessary to ensure that a vaccine is safe and effective. Learn more.

Vaccine safety monitoring is ongoing.

Once a vaccine has been approved for use, and for as long as the vaccine is used, its safety is continuously monitored. Canada has several systems in place to carefully monitor the safety of vaccines. Learn more.

The benefits of vaccines greatly outweigh the risks.

The benefits of vaccines are immense. They prevent diseases that can cause serious complications such as pneumonia, deafness, brain damage, heart problems, blindness, paralysis, life-long disability, and even death.  The main risks associated with vaccines are side effects, which are almost always minor and temporary. Serious side effects are extremely rare. The benefits of vaccines greatly outweigh the risks. Learn more.

The ingredients in vaccines are safe.

Vaccines contain small amounts of specific ingredients (also called components), all of which play necessary and important roles during vaccine production. Some components stimulate your immune system to develop protection against disease, and others have functions like keeping the vaccine stable during transport and storage.  Vaccines contained in multi-dose vials must contain a preservative to prevent germs from growing in the vial after the first dose has been removed. Vaccines may also contain very small (“trace”) quantities of materials that were used in the earlier stages of making the vaccine. All of these ingredients are safe in the amounts used in vaccines.  Learn more.

Getting more than one vaccine at a time is safe.

Getting more than one vaccine at the same time is safe and ensures you (or your child) are protected against serious diseases earlier rather than later. Research shows that routine childhood vaccines are just as safe and effective when they are given at the same time as they are when they are given at separate appointments. Learn more.

We all play a role in keeping vaccines safe.

You play an important role in keeping vaccines safe by reporting any unexpected or serious reactions to your doctor or community health centre. An unexpected or serious reaction after getting a vaccine is called an adverse event following immunization. Not all adverse events that occur after getting a vaccine are caused by the vaccine.

It is important to report the adverse event to your health care provider, even if you don’t know if it was caused by the vaccine, so that it can be investigated.  Learn more.