People new to B.C.

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Make sure you and your family have all the vaccines you need.

If you just moved to B.C., it’s important to make sure that you and your family have all the vaccines you need. Immunization is the best way to protect you and your family from many diseases that can cause serious illness and even death. 

Depending on where you moved from, and the vaccines you or your family have received the past, you may need other vaccines now that you’ve moved to B.C. This is because vaccine recommendations in B.C. may be different than in your home country or province.

You can find B.C’s immunization schedules for infants and children, school-age children, and adults here.

Take your immunization records to your local health unit to be checked.

It’s important to take your family’s immunization records (a list of the vaccines your family has received in the past) to your local health unit to be checked. A public health nurse will check your records, tell you if your family is missing any recommended vaccines, and give missing vaccines for free. You can find the phone number and address for your local health unit here.

If your records are in a different language, a public health nurse can help translate them.

What if I don’t have records of my or my family’s immunizations?

Try contacting your doctor's office or clinic in your home country or province and ask that they send the records to you. Without a record of immunization (or proof of immunity to a disease), a person is considered unimmunized and unprotected. They should generally be vaccinated (or revaccinated) to ensure protection. It is safe to repeat vaccines.

Where can my family get vaccinated?

Your family can get vaccinated at your local health unit. Some doctors, nurse practitioners, and pharmacists also give vaccines. Pharmacists only immunize children 5 years of age and older.

Are vaccines free?

Vaccines that are part of the recommended schedule for children in B.C. are free. Some vaccines that are recommended for adults are free, and some you need to buy. 

If you don’t have health insurance under B.C’s Medical Service Plan (MSP), you may be charged a fee to have the vaccine given at a doctor’s office or pharmacy. You will not be charged this fee at your local health unit.

Keep a record of all the vaccines you and your family receive. 

It’s important to keep a record of all the vaccines you and your family receive. Take the records with you to each immunization appointment so that the doctor, nurse, or pharmacist can fill them out. Keep the records in a safe place. You may be asked to show immunization records when registering for daycare, school, summer camps, university or college, or for certain jobs, and travel.

You can use the CANImmunize App to keep track of your family’s immunizations. The App is free. You can download it here.

Do you have travel plans?

If you will be travelling back to your home country or anywhere outside of Canada, it’s important to contact a travel clinic 6 weeks before you travel to get advice on any other vaccines your family may need. You can find more information on travel vaccines here.

Questions?

  • Contact your local health unit and speak with a public health nurse.
  • Speak with your family doctor, nurse practitioner, or pharmacist.
  • Call HealthLinkBC at 8-1-1 to speak with a nurse. Translation services in more than 130 languages are available.

Learn why it’s important that all children follow the recommended immunization schedule here.
 

Date last updated: 
Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Date last reviewed: 
Thursday, Apr 30, 2020