Immunization

Immunizations for children  

Vaccines are an important part of healthy growth and development. Think of them the same way you would healthy eating, physical activity, or proper sleep.

Vaccines are a proven and safe way to prevent serious infections. Although we rarely see most of these diseases in Canada now, they still exist. If we stop vaccinating children, these diseases will return. Vaccines sometimes even prevent death.

Vaccines help your body to help itself. Your body will make antibodies when you get a vaccine. Antibodies help your immune system to identify and destroy a virus. This will protect your child and those around them.

Most vaccines are given by injection. Some are given orally (in the mouth). New types of vaccines, such as nasal sprays, make them less painful for some patients.

It is important to report any vaccines your child receives to Ottawa Public Health (OPH). OPH keeps a record of your child's vaccinations to help protect public safety. This is important if there is ever a disease outbreak.

Parent blurb

Your child's health care provider and school are not mandated to report your child's immunization to OPH. Please visit our Reporting page for more information on reporting vaccines to OPH.

What vaccines does my child (4 to 11 years) need?

Between 4 and 6 years:

  1. Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis (Whooping Cough), Polio (4-in-1 vaccine)
  2. Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Varicella (Chicken Pox) (4-in-1 vaccine)

These vaccines are not given in schools. You will need to get them from your healthcare provider. If you do not have a healthcare provider, you can get them from a walk-in clinic.

Visit our diseases prevented by routine vaccination page for more information.

See what vaccines are publicly funded in Ontario in this resource.

Reducing pain during vaccination

Needles can be scary (and not just for parents). Here are some helpful ways to help reduce pain for your child when they get their vaccine.

Prepare your child ahead of time

  • Read stories about what happens when you visit the doctor.
  • Offer an honest explanation about what to expect. Prepare older children the day before.
  • Describe how vaccination will feel (for example, like a pinch).
  • Tell your child what they can do to ease the pain (for example, sit still, breathe deeply, relax the arm).

Distract your child

  • Draw your child's attention away from the needle. This is one of the best ways that you can help your child. 
  • Distract your child with a favourite toy or blanket, a book, music, singing, or telling a joke or a story.
  • Tell your child to take a deep breath and to blow it out slowly. Blowing bubbles or blowing on a pinwheel can help also. 

Position your child in an upright position

Hold your young child securely in a comforting hug, sitting upright on your lap, facing forward, or facing you (front to front), with the arm exposed.  Lying flat on their back during an injection, or being held too tightly, can be scary for children and can increase their fear. Older children can sit alone if they wish, with the arm exposed.

If your child continues to move, ask your healthcare provider about the proper hold technique that is safest for your child.

Vaccine safety
Visit our Vaccine safety page for more information.
Frequently asked questions
Looking for more information? Visit our Frequently asked questions page.

Do you have more questions?

Contact Us