Immunization is also called vaccination, needles and shots. Immunization is a safe and effective way of preventing many serious diseases that are contagious.
A vaccine stimulates the body's immune system to make antibodies. This makes your body stronger and more resistant to diseases. When you are exposed to the diseases that you were immunized against, your body is better able to destroy the germs that cause the disease before you get sick.
Minor side effects can happen after an immunization. For example, some people have redness, swelling and pain at the place where they received a vaccination by needle. Severe side effects are rare. The advantages of immunization are much greater than the risks of side effects.
Routine immunization begins at two months of age and continues throughout life according to the routine immunization schedule for Ontario. It's never too late to begin or complete your immunization series. In Ontario, the following immunizations are free of charge to people at certain ages.
- pertussis (whooping cough)
- Hemophilus influenza type B (HiB)
- human papilloma virus (HPV)
- meningococcal disease
- pneumococcal disease
- rubella (German measles)
- hepatitis B
- varicella (chicken pox)
For information about vaccines and the recommended vaccines schedule, see the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care's Vaccine fact sheets.
Public Health Agency of Canada - Immunization and Vaccines