Common types of vaccines

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Vaccines help to protect you against many different diseases. Learn about different vaccines and how to keep track of which vaccines you have had.

Key points

  • Students in Ontario between the ages of 4 and 17 are required by law to be immunized against certain diseases.
  • You will be offered some vaccines through school programs after you turn 12 years of age.
  • Other vaccines you may get include the annual Influenza (flu) vaccine and travel vaccines.

Required childhood vaccines

The Canadian National Advisory Council on Immunizations (NACI) created a table showing the routine vaccines that are needed by babies, older children, and teens.

The following are important vaccines that you should have received as a baby or a child.

  • Pneumococcal vaccine
  • Meningococcal vaccine
  • Haemophilus influenza B vaccine
  • Diphtheria
  • Tetanus
  • Polio
  • Measles, mumps, rubella
  • Pertussis
  • Varicella (chicken pox)

There are some vaccines that are given in Grade 7 to protect against hepatitis B, human papillomavirus (HPV) and meningococcal infections.

You can learn about the immunizations provided in Ontario by clicking this link.

Yellow immunization card

Make sure you have a record of all the immunizations you have received since you were born! In Ontario, we use yellow immunization cards, like the one in this photo, to record your immunizations. Your health-care provider may also have an electronic summary in your medical record that can be downloaded or printed.

Did you know?

Students in Ontario between the ages of 4 and 17 are required by law to be immunized against certain diseases. You may receive a notice from your local public health unit telling you that you are missing certain vaccines. Sometimes you are missing the required doses and sometimes you may have simply missed providing your updated immunization records. You may be asked to stay home until you catch up on the required doses. This checklist can help ensure that your vaccines and vaccine records are up to date.

What to do if you can’t find your immunization record

If you can’t find your yellow immunization card (or another immunization record if you live outside Ontario), contact:

  • your family doctor or paediatrician – they should have a record of every routine vaccine you have received
  • your local school board – you need to have up-to-date immunization records to go to school and the school board should have this information on file
  • your local Public Health Unit – it keeps records for all children who attend school

Annual, teenage and travel vaccines

Influenza (flu) vaccine

We recommend that you, your family and any caregivers get the influenza (flu) vaccine every year. The flu shot protects you from severe influenza infections.

School vaccine programs

You will be offered some vaccines through school programs after you turn 12 years of age, such as hepatitis B, human papillomavirus (HPV) and meningococcal vaccines.

Travel vaccines

There are special travel clinics in Ontario that give advice on the immunizations that are needed if you travel to different parts of the world where you may be exposed to infections that require special vaccinations or preventative medications. It is recommended that you visit a travel clinic before travelling to many parts of the world. The Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) does not cover the cost of travel clinic appointments, so you will need to budget for the appointment and any travel vaccines you get there.

It is important to plan ahead! Many travel vaccines need to be given in several doses over a period of time to work properly. So, it is important to have at least two months’ notice before you travel to areas where vaccines are needed.

You can find your nearest travel clinic on the Health Canada website.

Last updated: June 22nd 2023