Immunization is one of the most important health care decisions an individual can make for themselves and for their children. Vaccines are a safe and effective way to provide protection against many infectious diseases, preventing serious illness and severe complications from these diseases. The risks of the diseases are significantly greater than any risks from the vaccines.
Immunizations are usually administered at Community Health Centres / Public Health Offices. They administer infant, preschool and school aged immunizations as well as immunizations for adults. Immunizations are provided free of charge for those who are eligible for them. They are administered according to a schedule that has been developed by immunization experts. You baby’s first immunization should be given at 2 months of age and should not be delayed as young children are at greater risk for complications from vaccine preventable diseases.
Booking Clinic Appointments:
Appointments are required for immunization and can be made by telephoning your closest Community Health Centre or Public Health Office. Appointments should normally be made 4-8 weeks in advance as wait times for appointments vary among clinics. You can call Health Link at 811 to find the details of your local clinic.
For your appointments please bring your Alberta Health Care Number and immunization records.
When you come to the Community Health Centre, the nurse will usually also perform general child and family health assessments, for example weighing and measuring your baby and checking the parents general well-being. This is an opportunity for you to ask the nurse questions about many health topics including breastfeeding, infant feeding, growth and development, adjusting to parenthood, the health and care of your baby, communicating with your baby, sleep, quality childcare, healthy eating and recreational opportunities and services available in your community.
Children with minor illnesses on the day of the appointment can be immunized. If you are unable to keep your appointment, please call the Community Health Centre to cancel and book another appointment.
Parents want to be sure that they are making the right health choices for their children and for themselves. There are many questions that are asked about vaccine safety and possible links to health conditions. Some of these questions are listed below.
Is there a link between measles mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR) and autism?
Carefully performed international scientific studies have found no relationship between MMR vaccine and autism. The rate of autism is no different in children who have been immunized and those who have not.
Is there Thimerosal in vaccines?
Thimerosal is an ethyl-mercury preservative used in some vaccines to prevent bacterial growth. Most childhood vaccines in Canada do not contain Thimerosal (with the exception of some influenza vaccines). There is no evidence to suggest that Thimerosal in vaccines causes brain damage or neurodevelopment disorders in children.
Are multiple injections safe?
Giving several vaccines at the same time keeps children safe by protecting them against more diseases sooner. A baby’s immune system can respond to millions of different viruses and bacteria and the vaccines are tested and proven safe to be used at the same time as other vaccines.
For more information on immunizations, visit:
- My Health Alberta: www.myhealth.alberta.ca
- Alberta Health: www.health.alberta.ca/health-info/immunization.html
- Immunize Alberta: www.immunizealberta.ca
- Immunize Canada: www.immunize.ca
- The Public Health Agency of Canada: http://healthycanadians.gc.ca/healthy-living-vie-saine/immunization-immunisation/index-eng.php
- Canadian Pediatric Society: www.caringforkids.cps.ca/handouts/immunization-index
- Healthy Parents Healthy Children
- Health Link Alberta toll-free at 811
- Your local community/public health centre