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Childhood Immunization – The Best Protection

How do they work?

To make immunization safer than getting the disease, the bacteria or virus is killed or weakened before being given as a vaccine. The immune system develops antibodies to fight the disease without causing illness. If the person contracts the disease, the body is prepared to fight the disease.

Are they safe?

Yes. Vaccines are very safe. There are rarely reasons not to get vaccinated. Serious problems after needles are rare.

  • If your child had an allergic reaction to a vaccine (such as breathing problems, severe swelling of the throat or mouth), talk to your doctor before the child receives another shot.
  • If your child is very sick when it’s time for a vaccine, talk to your doctor.
  • Common reactions to vaccines
  • Slight fever, mild pain, swelling and redness where the needle was given.
  • Fever, with or without a rash may be seen seven to 10 days after having MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) or Varicella vaccine.
  • Ask your doctor what to give for fever or pain.

Is immunization required for attendance at school or day care in Ontario?

For children attending school in Ontario, a written (or proof of) immunization record is required by law for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, varicella and meningococcal disease unless there is a valid, written exemption.

You may decide because of medical, religious or philosophical reasons not to immunize your child. In this case, you will need to provide a valid, written exemption to your local public Health Unit. If the disease appears in your child’s school or day care, your child may have to stay out of school/day care until the disease is no longer present.

Parents/guardians are required to provide this information to their local public Health Unit and to update the information as necessary. You should contact your local public Health Unit or check with your day care centre for the specific immunization requirements

You may need an updated record for:

  • Starting school.
  • Transferring to another school.
  • University or college.
  • Camp.
  • Employment.
  • Emergency health care.
  • Travel.

When their children are immunized parents can call the Health Unit at 519-426-6170 Ext. 3220 or 905-318-6623, or fax the record to 519-426-9974, or report online at’s immunization reporting.

Required Vaccines

Required vaccines
DPT Polio/HiB is a combined needle
Vaccine name Description
  • Very contagious disease caused by bacteria that infects the nose, throat and skin.
  • Can cause breathing problems, heart failure or nerve damage.
  • Disease kills on out of every 10 infected.
  • Also called “whopping cough.”
  • Can cause severe breathing problems, pneumonia, brain damage, or even death in infants.
  • A new, improved vaccine (1997) causes fewer side effects.
  • Also called “lock jaw” because the first muscles affected are in the jaw. Your child may not be able to swallow or open his/her mouth
  • Can occur if dirt with the tetanus germ gets into a cut in the skin.
  • If tetanus gets to the muscles that help your child breathe, your child can die very quickly
  • Can be caught by drinking water or eating food infected by the polio virus
  • Can cause nerve damage or lifetime paralysis
  • Still present, but large vaccination programs have greatly reduced number of cases
Haemophilus Influenzae B
  • Spread by coughing, sneezing or close/direct contact with infected person
  • Meningitis can result in brain damage, learning problems, deafness, blindness and even death.
  • Number of cases has been greatly reduced since infant immunization started.
MMR Vaccine
MMR is a combined needle
Vaccine name Description
  • Also called “red measles”
  • Highly contagious, causes high fever, runny nose, red eyes, cough and rash
  • Can lead to pneumonia, deafness, brain damage or death
  • Two-close vaccination has greatly decreased numbers of cases
  • Very infectious, causes fever, headache and swollen face and neck
  • Can lead to deafness, meningitis and infertility
  • Also called “German measles
  • Usually causes mild fever and rash in children, but may be very dangerous for pregnant women as it can cause birth defects in the unborn child


  • 200-400 cases every year in Canada.
  • Can cause a serious infection of the fluid and lining that covers the spinal column & brain (meningitis).

Varicella (chicken pox)

  • Fever and red, raised, fluid-filled sores.
  • Can cause pneumonia, swelling of the brain and flesh-eating disease.


  • Meningococcal disease is caused by Neisseria meningitides bacteria that can lead to infections of the blood, and/or the covering of the brain and spinal cord. (Grade 7- 1 dose)

Recommended Vaccines

Hepatitis B

  • A virus that can permanently damage your liver. (Grade 7- 2 doses)

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

  • Protects against 4 main types of HPV that cause genital warts and certain types of cancer. (Grade 8- 3 doses, school program presently only offers to females)


  • 800 -1,000 cases of meningitis and blood infections each year in Canada.
  • Causes several different infections, including meningitis, blood infections, lung infections and middle ear infections.


  • Caused by influenza A and B viruses and occurs every year.
  • Influenza A, most common, can occur worldwide; influenza B occurs within a small area.


  • Causes inflammation of the intestines.
  • Most children are infected with it at least once by age five.

Publicly Funded Immunization Schedules for Ontario – August 2011

Schedule 1. Routine Schedule for Children beginning Immunization in Early Infancy
(Starting at age <12 mos.)


  1. *Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) must be given after the first birthday.
  2. Rotavirus vaccine – Given orally at six weeks of age and completed by 24 weeks of age.
  3. Priovix – Tetra (MMRV) measles, mumps, rubella (german measles) and varicella. Given 4-6 years of age.
  4. Prevnar 13 – A three dose schedule for healthy (low risk) children – 2 primary doses at 2 and 4 months of age and a booster at 12 months of age. For high risk children, refer to Prevnar 13 Eligibility Schedule (Table 2 & 4)
  5. Meningococal Vaccine is available for one year old or 12 year old children (grade seven).
  6. Influenza (flu) vaccine is available for all Ontario residents aged six months and older.

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