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Baby vaccine schedule

Early childhood immunizations are an important safeguard against serious and sometimes life-threatening illnesses for your baby. While it may be difficult to hear your baby cry when she gets a shot, keep in mind that the pain lasts mere seconds but the benefits can last a lifetime.

4 mins to read Apr 20, 2017

Follow the immunization schedule provided by your baby’s doctor and remember that many vaccines are covered by provincial or territorial health plans, which means you won't have to pay out of pocket for them.

Five-in-one-vaccine (also known as DTap-IPV-HiB vaccine) protects against a wide variety of diseases:

Diphtheria is a serious infectious disease caused by bacteria that produce toxins which inflame the nervous system and heart. It can result in heart failure and paralysis.

Tetanus results from bacteria that grow in wounds that produce a toxin which affects the nervous system. It causes muscle spasms and paralysis, especially in the jaw area, which is why the disease is also called lockjaw.

Pertussis or whooping cough, another infectious disease caused by bacteria, is especially dangerous for babies under the age of one. Its most well-known symptom is a debilitating hacking cough.

Polio, short for poliomyelitis, is a serious viral disease that starts with a fever and can lead to paralysis, muscle atrophy, and permanent disability. In its most severe forms, polio can cause death.

Haemophilus influenzae type B (HIB) isn't the viral infection that's commonly called the flu. Instead, it's a fast-moving bacterial infection that can cause baby to have ear and bronchial infections.

MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) or MMRV (Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Varicella) vaccine covers three diseases in a single shot:

Measles is a viral infection that causes distinctive red spots and is characterized by cold-like symptoms and a high fever.

Mumps is an infectious viral disease that results in swelling of the parotid gland that's just in front of the ear and the salivary glands. The swelling can occur on the sides of one or both cheeks. Mumps are usually accompanied by a fever and pain when the patient opens his mouth or eats.

Rubella or German measles is similar to measles - a viral infection that results in a fever, swollen glands and a rash.

Varicella (Chickenpox vaccine) is a highly contagious illness caused by the varicella-zoster virus. Often the first sign of the virus is an itchy rash with spots that start flat and pink and then turn into water blisters. Other times the first signs will be a fever, aches and pains.

Hepatitis B an infection of the liver that's caused by a virus and can result in liver damage or failure. Hepatitis B requires a series of immunizations.

Pneumococcal vaccine protects against infections caused by bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae, including meningitis (a brain infection), pneumonia (lung infection), bacteremia (blood infection) and ear infections. The symptoms of the infection will vary depending on what part of the body is affected.

Meningococcal vaccine protects against diseases caused by the meningococcus bacteria, including meningitis, an infection of the fluid lining and lining that cover the brain and spinal cord, and septicemia, a serious blood infection.

Influenza (flu) vaccine protects against the flu and is recommended for children older than 6 months. These shots are given once a year to provide protect during flu season (October – March). Getting the flu shot is important. Babies and children from 6 months to 5 years are at a greater risk of complications from the flu.

Rotavirus vaccine protects against rotavirus, the most common cause of serious diarrhea in babies and young children. The first signs are usually high fever and vomiting followed by large amounts of watery diarrhea within 12-24 hours. Not all provinces and territories publically fund the Rotavirus vaccine.

Depending on where you live in Canada, your baby’s immunization schedule may vary in what vaccinations are offered when.

It's important that your child receive the vaccines at the right times to be protected. The schedule may vary slightly from province to province. Consult your physician before relocating to another province to ensure your child won't miss any childhood immunizations. Find out more information about childhood vaccines and your child's immunization schedule now.

Tips for coping with pain

Vaccinations protect babies from serious diseases, many of which are life-threatening. But it may be very difficult for you to see your baby in pain when they receive a vaccination. The Canadian Paediatric Society has published a document for parents on how to reduce the pain that your baby may experience when they get their routine immunizations. Click on the link below to gain access to the document.

Canadian Paediatric Society – Reduce the Pain of Vaccination in Babies


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