Reasons to follow the schedule

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Why it's important to follow the recommended schedule

  • The recommended schedule was created to protect infants and young children early in life, when they are most vulnerable, and before they are potentially exposed to vaccine-preventable diseases. Infants and young children are at greater risk from vaccine-preventable diseases because their immune systems are less mature and less able to fight off infection. If an infant or young child were to get a vaccine-preventable disease, it could be very serious and life-threatening. Vaccinating your child on time gives them the best protection as early as possible.
  • The recommended schedule is safe and based on science.
  • Following the recommended schedule minimizes the number of visits to your child’s health care provider, which means less stress for you and your child.

What’s wrong with not following the recommended schedule, if I would rather delay or space out my child’s vaccinations?

  • There is no known benefit to delaying or spacing out vaccines, only risks.
  • Schedules that delay or space out vaccines leave your child at risk of getting diseases while they are unvaccinated, at an age at which they are most vulnerable.
  • Delaying or spacing out vaccines increases the number of visits to your child’s health care provider, which may increase your child’s risk of developing anxiety and needle fear.

Immunization coverage and the recommended schedule

  • Immunization coverage refers to the percentage of a population that has received recommended vaccines.
  • 1 in 3 children under 2 years of age in B.C. has not received all of the recommended vaccines.
  • The percentage of children who have received all of their recommended vaccines before their second birthday has ranged from 65% to 73% in recent years in B.C. The BC Centre for Disease Control publishes immunization coverage reports here.
  • Monitoring immunization coverage is important to identify the potential for outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases.
  • When immunization rates drop, the chances of a vaccine-preventable disease outbreak increases.
  • Following the recommended schedule helps to improve immunization coverage and decreases the chances of vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks.

Do you have questions about vaccine schedules? Find answers here.

If you would like to understand the risks and responsibilities associated with delaying vaccination or choosing to skip vaccines, read this.

Some immunization clinics may be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Please contact your local health authority to find out more.

Date last reviewed: 
Tuesday, Mar 24, 2020