Answers to common questions about immunizations.
Which diseases have vaccines to help prevent them?
There are 17 diseases that have vaccines to prevent them. These diseases are known as vaccine preventable diseases and include:
- Chickenpox (varicella)
- Haemophilus influenza B (Hib)
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Influenza (flu)
- Meningococcal disease
- Pertussis (whooping cough)
- Pneumococcal disease
- Rubella (German measles)
Most vaccines available in B.C. are part of B.C.’s routine immunization program and are free.
Your child is protected against 14 of these vaccine preventable diseases by 2 years of age just by following B.C.’s recommended routine schedule for infants and children.
Which travel vaccines do I need and where can I get them?
Your travel vaccines will depend on a number of things, such as:
- Previous immunization history
- Destination (where you are travelling to)
- How long you will be there
- What activities you will be doing while there
Regardless of where you are going, it is important to make sure your routine immunizations are up-to-date. Learn more about travel and immunizations.
Are my records up-to-date and where are they?
It is important to stay up-to-date with your immunizations and store your records in a safe place.
Find out if your records are up-to-date, where you can get a copy if you have lost them and tips to record your immunizations electronically. Getting your immunization records takes a few steps but it is a worthwhile process.
When are boosters necessary and why?
To provide full protection against disease (immunity), most vaccines are given in a series (more than once). These repeated doses are known as a ‘primary series’.
Some vaccines give immunity for life after a single dose or after the primary series is complete. Other vaccines need another dose or doses to boost the immune system back to protective levels because the immune memory has weakened over time and the person is no longer considered protected. These ‘booster doses’ are like reminders to your immune system.
For example, it is recommended that people receive a booster dose of the tetanus vaccine every 10 years, because after 10 years the immune memory weakens and the person is no longer protected against tetanus disease.
The immune system is complicated. It is not fully understood why some vaccines need booster doses to maintain immunity and others do not. B.C.’s routine immunization schedules tell you when and if booster doses are needed and for which vaccines.
Which vaccines are covered by MSP/private insurance?
Most vaccines available in B.C. are free and part of B.C.’s routine immunization program. Vaccines that are not part of B.C.’s routine immunization program can be provided for a cost by your doctor, pharmacist (for those 5 years and older) and travel clinics.
Individual health insurance plans may cover the cost of some ‘paid for’ vaccines. Each plan may be different.
Contact your insurance provider directly to find out what vaccines your plan covers.