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Immunization in Your Baby's First Year


baby with doctor's stethoscope on chest



Immunization is the best way to protect your baby from a long list of serious diseases. Without it, your child could get very sick. 

Thanks to immunization, many diseases are no longer common in Canada. But the germs that cause these diseases still exist.

To protect your baby, a series of shots begin at two months of age. Some immunizations are only given once or twice, while others are provided over a period of time.

B.C. provides publicly-funded immunizations against:

  • measles, mumps and rubella
  • hepatitis B
  • diphtheria
  • tetanus
  • pertussis (whooping cough) and polio
  • Haemophilus influenzae type b disease (Hib)
  • Varicella (chicken pox)
  • rotavirus
  • pneumococcal and meningococcal diseases
  • human papilloma virus (for girls). 

Did You Know?

When babies have procedures such as blood tests or injections, they usually cry less if they're breastfeeding and held skin-to-skin.

Immunization Schedule

Some people are concerned about safety, but immunizations are very safe - serious side effects from immunizations are rare. In fact, the risks of disease are much higher than the risk of a serious reaction from the immunization. Sometimes immunizations can cause temporary side effects, such as soreness at the needle injection site or a slight fever. These rarely last more than a day or two.

Keeping a record will help keep you up to date. Ask your public health nurse for a Child Health Passport to track your child’s immunizations. Always take your child's record with you when they get immunizations. 

For more information about the immunization schedule, visit the ImmunizeBC website.

Flu Shots

Influenza immunization protects against viruses that cause the "flu." The virus changes every year, which means there's a new flu shot every year. The influenza (flu) vaccine is available each year as early as October and can be given to children 6 months of age and older. Ask your healthcare provider or public health nurse if your baby should be immunized for the flu.

Resources & Links:
HealthLink BC: Immunizations
HealthLink BC: Your Baby's Immune System and Vaccines 

Last Updated: August 13, 2013