Healthy Living in the North

Timing is everything for routine immunizations

Child on mother's lap being given a vaccine by a nurse.

To ensure that your child has the best protection, don’t forget about boosters and 18-month vaccines. Vaccines are most effective if given at the right time as your child grows.

As a working mom expecting her third baby and running around after two busy school-aged children, I know a thing or two about scheduling! Balancing kids’ activities with work, family obligations, and household duties as well as trips to the dentist, optometrist and doctor involves a certain degree of time management and juggling skills. When you stick to a schedule, things tend to run more smoothly … usually!

That being said, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and derailed when the to-do list becomes longer than the hours in a day. Try as we might to keep organized, appointments are missed and sometimes you find yourself at the soccer field when you should be at the swimming pool!

Though I have been a public health nurse for seven years and place a priority on health-related visits including immunization appointments, I, too, am guilty of slipping up. My kids, like many, received their infant immunizations on time during their first 12 months. As life gets busier, 12-month-olds become more rambunctious, and some of the nerves of first-year parenting start to calm, it becomes especially important – albeit a bit more challenging – to remember boosters. You want to make sure those infant immunizations stay as effective as possible in protecting your child! When your child is 18 months old, it is important to keep on schedule with the rest of their immunization boosters in order to give them the best protection against vaccine preventable-illnesses.

Why is it important to keep vaccines on schedule anyway? The routine immunization program is designed to provide your child with the best protection at the most effective and safest ages and intervals. Completing all infant and childhood vaccines on schedule builds immunity that is lasting.

As you may have noticed at your child’s followup immunization appointments, subsequent vaccine doses are given. Some vaccines need to be given more than once to build your child’s immune system. Following the routine schedule will ensure the right spacing is maintained. Is it time to boost your toddler’s immunity?

At 18 months, make sure to stay on schedule with:

  • DTaP-IPV-Hib (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, Haemophilus influenzae type b)
  • Influenza (seasonal)
  • Hepatitis A (if eligible)

Contact your local health unit to find out if your child’s immunizations are up to date. You can also visit northernhealth.ca for more information on vaccine-preventable illnesses and immunizations.

To help keep track of your family’s immunization records, download the free ImmunizeCA app for Apple, Android, and Blackberry products.

Kyrsten Thomson

About Kyrsten Thomson

Based in Terrace, Kyrsten is a public health communications liaison nurse. Her role focuses on promoting immunization awareness and supporting internal and external communications. Kyrsten moved to Terrace seven years ago after graduating with a nursing degree in Ontario. As a student, she knew public health was her passion, especially work in health promotion and community development. She fell in love with the north and all the fantastic outdoor activities right at her fingertips. Since moving to the north, Kyrsten has started a family, taken up hiking, running, and enjoys spending summer days at the cabin.

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