Immunization Programs

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Immunization is a process that helps your body fight off diseases caused by certain viruses and bacteria. One way to be immunized against a disease is to receive the vaccine against it.

Vaccines are usually given by needle and contain a harmless amount of germs that cause the disease against which you are being protected. Your body reacts by producing antibodies and ‘learns’ to protect itself if exposed to the same germs again.

The Immunization Program is offered at no cost to all Island residents under 18 years of age or until leaving school. Children are not required by law to receive vaccines, but it is highly recommended that they do.

Before your child starts school in NL, it is recommended that they are immunized against:

  • Measles
  • Mumps
  • Rubella
  • Polio
  • Tetanus
  • Diphtheria

If an illness for which there is a vaccine is diagnosed in a school, those children who have not been immunized for that disease will not be allowed to attend school until it is safe for them to return.

Adverse Reactions to Vaccines

After getting a vaccine, your child may have:

  • fever
  • decrease in activity
  • decrease in appetite
  • irritability
  • a sore, red, swollen spot at the place where the injection was given, and if the vaccine was given in the leg, a limp for a couple of days
  • a small lump at the place where the injection was given (may last up to two months)

Remember, these reactions are normal and should only last for a couple of days.

Here are some things you can do that may help your child feel better after receiving a vaccine:

  • Hold and cuddle your child.
  • If your child has a fever: undress the child, give them lots to drink.
  • Put a cold cloth over the place where the injection was given.

You need to take your child to see a doctor if the fever does not go down, does not go away in two days, or if the child’s temperature is:

  • 38°C or higher for infants up to 3 months old
  • 3°C or higher for 3 to 6 months old children
  • 4°C or higher for children older than 6 months

Young children should not be given ASA (such as Aspirin™) unless your doctor says it is okay.

Serious reactions to a vaccine are rare. If your child has a serious reaction, you should call your family doctor, go to the emergency room at the hospital, or go to a walk-in clinic immediately. After you have taken care of your child’s immediate needs, later call your Public Health Nursing Office and tell a nurse what happened.

If you need more information about the benefits of vaccination or adverse reactions, talk to Public Health Nursing office or Chief Health Office.

Related Resources

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We have made every effort to ensure that the information in this Guide is accurate and up-to-date. If you find any errors or omissions, please contact us.

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The Association for New Canadians of Newfoundland and Labrador gratefully acknowledges the support of PEIANC for their permission to use their template in creating this guide.

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