Immunization

The craziness of back-to-school may be over, but that doesn’t mean we can stop planning for the year ahead. Luckily, staying on top of the vaccines that your children may need this year is easier than keeping tabs on their new school stuff.

To help keep you and the kids organized, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has developed a check-list of what you need to know about immunization:

  1. Help keep the community safe.
    1. In order to attend school in Ontario, children need to be immunized against nine diseases: tetanus, diphtheria, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, varicella (chicken pox), meningococcal disease and pertussis (whooping cough).
    2. Making sure your child receives these vaccines will not only keep them and others in your household safe, but also protect their friends, classmates and your community.
  1. When you vaccinate your children, their bodies get stronger and more resistant to diseases.
    1. Vaccines were developed to keep people healthy and safe – they’ve been saving lives around the world for more than 200 years.
    2. Vaccines schedules are carefully planned so kids get them when their bodies are ready and when they need them most.
  1. Incorporate vaccinations into your overall health routine.
    1. Make vaccinations part of your health conversations, don’t avoid the topic.
    2. Give your child enough time to be comfortable with the idea of getting a shot but not too much that they become anxious.
    3. Stay calm and positive: a parent’s fear can affect their child – lead by example.
    4. Be honest about the experience, a shot may be uncomfortable, but only momentarily.
    5. Use distraction techniques: for babies you can breastfeed; for older children books, videos and toys can work.
    6. Check to make sure you are also up-to-date on your immunizations- adults need vaccinations, too!
  1. Keep a record of your child’s vaccinations and stay on schedule.
    1. The first time your child gets a vaccination you should receive a card (sometimes called the Yellow Card) that lists the vaccines received.
    2. To avoid losing the information on this card, take a photograph of it, email it to yourself, make copies and keep it in a safe place – it’s proof of immunization that is required for school entry in Ontario. Employment opportunities and travel to some countries may also require proof of immunization.
    3. Bring this card to every immunization appointment so it stays up-to-date.

For more information on immunization, you can visit www.ontario.ca/vaccines, a more detailed immunization schedule is also available here.

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