As a parent, you want to help your child when they are getting their shots or vaccines. It is normal to feel upset or worried. Getting your child’s shots can be harder on you than your child.
Vaccines are made with ingredients that make them safe and effective. Each vaccine contains a small amount of the disease germ (virus/bacteria/toxin), such as the pertussis, measles or chickenpox virus, pneumococcal bacteria, or tetanus toxin. The germs in the vaccine are either dead, weakened, or made inactive, and cannot harm your child in any way. These germs help your child’s immune system to build protection against disease. Some of the other ingredients in routine childhood vaccines include saline, formaldehyde, aluminum salts and antibiotics. Each item in a vaccine plays an important role in keeping vaccines safe and effective. They have not been linked to disease or illness.
If you have questions about your child’s shots, get them answered before your visit. This will help you feel more ready. You can call the BC NurseLine and speak to a registered nurse, or you can call your local public health unit or your doctor.
Here is a checklist to help prepare for your clinic visit.
- Bring your child’s records or health passport
- Bring a toy, teddy bear, or blanket
- Be prepared that your child may get 3 or more shots
- Dress your baby in easy-to-remove clothing.
- Dress your toddler in a big T-shirt and loose pants
- Bring a treat or reward for their success
As your child receives their shots, they will be recorded by the health nurse in their Child Health Passport. Your child will normally receive two shots (one in each leg) on each of the first three visits, one shot in their arm on the forth visit, and two shots, usually in their arm, on the fifth visit at about one and half of age. After the shots you will be asked to stay in the office for 15 minutes, so plan to have some toys or books with you. Book your next clinic visit before you leave the clinic.
- Age depends on when previous shots were given. Your doctor or nurse may give you information to take home. Your child needs shots at:
- 2 months
- 4 months
- 6 months
- 12 months
- 18 months
- 4-6 years old (before Kindergarten)