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.

Where can my child receive immunizations?

In Ontario, immunizations can be given at your family doctor, a walk-in clinic or through the OPH Immunization Clinic.

If you are currently looking for a family doctor please register with Health Care Connect, and a nurse will help you find a doctor or nurse practitioner who is accepting new patients in our community.

OPH Community Clinic

Ottawa Public Health has expanded immunization services for children and youth aged 0-17 years who live in Ottawa and who are facing barriers in getting their routine immunizations in the community.

You are eligible to book an appointment if your child(ren) or youth, up to the age of seventeen (17) years, identifies with one or more of the following criteria:

  • Your child/youth is a newcomer to Canada
  • Your child/youth is without an OHIP card
  • Your child/youth does not have a primary care provider, such as a doctor or nurse practitioner
  • There is currently no option for accessing immunizations through a primary care provider due to COVID-19 closures.
  • Your youth in grade 9-12 has not completed their school-based vaccine series normally administered at school in grade 7

Your grade 7 or 8 youth is to attend their school clinic. Information on school clinics is available.

OPH Community Clinic
Location Hours of operation

University of Ottawa - Minto Sports Complex

801 King Edward Avenue

Tuesday to Friday: 12:45 pm - 7 pm
Saturday: 9:45 am - 4 pm
Closed on Sunday and Monday

JH Putman School

2051 Bel-Air Drive

Tuesday to Friday: 12:45 pm - 7 pm
Saturday: 9:45 am - 4 pm
Closed on Sunday and Monday

Eva James Memorial Centre

65 Stonehaven Drive

Tuesday to Friday: 12:45 pm - 7 pm
Saturday: 9:45 am - 4 pm
Closed on Sunday and Monday

Orleans Ruddy Family YMCA-YWCA

265 Centrum Boulevard

Tuesday to Friday: 12:45 pm - 7 pm
Saturday: 9:45 am - 4 pm
Closed on Sunday and Monday

Vaccinations offered include: 

  • Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), Polio, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) (2, 4, 6, 18 months) 
  • Pneumococcal conjugate-13 (2, 4, 12 months) 
  • Rotavirus (2, 4, 6 months)
  • Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) (12 months) 
  • Meningococcal conjugate-C (12 months) 
  • Varicella (chickenpox) (15 months)
  • Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis (Whooping Cough), Polio (4-in-1 vaccine) (4-6 years old)
  • Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Varicella (Chicken Pox) (4-in-1 vaccine) (4-6 years old) 
  • Adolescent booster Tdap for tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough). (ages 14 – 17 years)
  • School-based vaccine series for Hepatitis B, Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and Meningococcal conjugate vaccines (normally given in grades 7 and 8)

Due to COVID-19, eligibility for some vaccines has been extended:

  • Students born in 2006 and 2007 remain eligible for the Hepatis B vaccine until August 31st, 2022.
  • Girls born in 2002 and 2003 remain eligible for the Human Papillomavirus vaccine until August 31st, 2022.

To book an appointment, please visit our website or call Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744.

If you have any questions or need help, please call OPH at 613-580-6744 from Monday to Friday from 9 AM to 4 PM.

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.

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