by Dr. Jeff Pernica, infectious disease specialist, McMaster Children’s Hospital
Immunizations protect children from many serious infections that can cause significant illness or even death. Many of these diseases can easily spread among children who are not vaccinated. Immunizations work by stimulating the body’s immune system to protect itself against these infections.
All children attending school between ages 4 and 17 need to have documentation of immunizations according to the Ontario Immunization Schedule. The number of vaccines your child needs will depend on whether they have previously gotten all required vaccinations in infancy. If your child requires an exemption for a medical (or any other) reason, you must discuss this issue with your local public health office.
Vaccines are usually given in needles, which can be scary. To prepare your child, tell them that vaccines are important to keep them healthy. It may help to use distractions like humour, toys, games or books. After being vaccinated it’s normal to have mild discomfort for a day or two at the injection site.
As parents, you must provide your child’s immunizations records to the local public health office and ensure they are kept up to date.
You can get more back to school information and tips, from our booklet below.