What vaccines does your child need and when?
Between birth and 6 years of age, infants and children are offered free vaccines that protect them against 14 different diseases:
- Chickenpox (varicella)
- Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
- Hepatitis B
- Pertussis (whooping cough)
*All Aboriginal children are also offered a vaccine that protects against hepatitis A.
Some of these vaccines are given as combination vaccines (vaccines that contain more than one vaccine in a single shot), and some are given individually. Combination vaccines are safe and provide the same protection as vaccines given individually, but with fewer shots.
When should my child get vaccines?
For best protection against disease, your child should get vaccinated on time, starting at 2 months of age, and follow the recommended schedule as closely as possible. Childhood vaccines protect against diseases that can cause serious illness, long-term disability, and death. You can find B.C.'s routine immunization schedule for infants and young children here.
Many vaccines require more than one dose to produce immunity and long-lasting protection. Your child should get the recommended number of doses of each vaccine, on schedule, to be fully protected.
Children with chronic health conditions may need additional vaccines or additional doses of a vaccine. If your child has a chronic condition, talk to your doctor or public health nurse about their vaccination schedule.
Learn more about why it's important to follow the recommended schedule here.
Do you have more questions about vaccine schedules? We have answers here.
Where can my child get vaccinated?
Your child can get vaccinated at your local health unit. Some family doctors also give vaccines. Pharmacists can vaccinate children who are five years of age and older. Services vary across B.C.
It’s best to book your child’s appointment well in advance as clinics book up quickly. This helps to ensure your child is vaccinated on time.
Other vaccines available for purchase
In addition to routine vaccines, your child may benefit from getting other vaccines that you can purchase. These vaccines can give your child extra protection against certain diseases. Talk to your health care provider to find out if your child has all the protection they need.
If you’re travelling, your child may need travel vaccines to protect them against diseases that are rare in Canada, but common in other parts of the world. You can find information on travel vaccines here.
You can purchase vaccines from travel health clinics, most pharmacies, and some doctors’ offices.
Keeping track of your child's immunizations
It’s important to bring your child’s immunization record with you to every immunization appointment and to make sure your health care provider updates it each time your child receives a vaccine.
Always keep a current immunization record for your child in a safe place. An up-to-date record is especially important if you move to a new province or territory, as there is no national immunization registry. You may need your child’s record if you register your child for daycare, summer camp, college or university and some travel.
If your child does not have a Child Health Passport or immunization record card, you can download and print an immunization record card here. There is also a free mobile app that can help you keep track of immunizations. You can find more information about the app at CANImmunize.ca.
If you have misplaced your child’s immunization record, you can find tips on locating it here.