Vaccines Basics

What are Immunizations?

Immunizations are the vaccines (shots) that protect your child from these serious childhood diseases including: measles, mumps, rubella, polio, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) meningitis, hepatitis B, chickenpox, and pneumococcal disease.

When Should My Child Start Getting Immunizations?

You should start protecting your baby right after he or she is born with regular visits to your doctor or clinic. Most of the immunizations that children need to protect them from these diseases are given in the first two years of life. But all people need vaccines later, too.

Keep a Record of Immunizations

It is important that you keep track of your child's immunizations. The use of the Lifetime Health Record is one way of keeping a record. Your doctor should be reporting all vaccines given to the Citywide Immunization Registry (CIR). It's important to bring your child's immunization record with you every time you take your child to the doctor or clinic. That's how you and the doctor will know exactly which immunizations your child has had and how many more your child will need.

Talk to the Doctor

It's important for you to talk to the doctor or nurse, so that you know:

  • Which diseases your child has been immunized against.
  • What other immunizations your child might need.
  • What, if any, reactions your child might have to the vaccinations, and what you should do.
  • When you should come back.

If there is something you don't understand, ask the doctor or nurse again. This way, you can play an important part in keeping your child healthy.

The Citywide Immunization Registry can also help to keep children's records up to date - and to make those records available to parents and health care providers.

Adults and Adolescents

Vaccines are not just for young children. Pre-teens, teens and adults should regularly check that their vaccinations are up-to-date by talking to their doctor.