Starting at age four, all children should get two vaccines that will protect against tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, measles, mumps, rubella, and chicken pox. They should get these shots before they begin kindergarten.
When to get your kindergarten-aged child vaccinated
The following vaccines are free for children, starting at age four:
- Tdap-IPV (or approved product): protects against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough) and polio.
- MMRV: protects against measles, mumps, rubella and varicella (chicken pox).
If your child has a chronic health condition, different chronic health conditions can put your child at risk for different vaccine preventable diseases. Talk with your doctor or a nurse from your local public health unit to find out what vaccines your child may need.
An immunization visit is a great way to catch up on other shots that might have been missed as part of a child’s infant vaccination series. While most of these infections are now rare in British Columbia because of routine childhood immunization programs, these infections are serious and can sometimes be fatal. Vaccines are safe: getting the vaccine is much safer than getting the disease.
Parents/guardians will be asked for a record of their child’s immunizations during kindergarten registration. Always keep a record of the vaccines your child has received so the information can be given when needed. Learn more on the keeping immunization records page.
What happens if my child does not get all routine vaccines?
If someone at school has a vaccine-preventable infectious disease, children who are unprotected may be asked to stay home until it is safe to return. They may miss days or even weeks of school and school activities.
Where to get your kindergarten-aged child vaccinated
- VCH Immunization Clinic
Book an appointment at an immunization clinic near you.
- Family practitioner (call ahead)
Please provide us with immunization records if completed through a family practitioner.
How to provide immunization records to VCH
- VCH Public Health Nurse at school
Students in school (Kindergarten, grade 6 and 9 are immunized by a Public Health nurse at school. Information and consent forms will be sent home at the beginning of the school year.
Does my child need immunizations to attend kindergarten?
- The Vaccination Status Reporting Regulation (VSRR) was put into place on July 1, 2019. It supports the collection of immunization records of school-age children by public health so that all records are stored in one place, the Provincial Immunization Registry. The regulation applies to all students in all schools within the Province's jurisdiction. This includes international students and those who are home-schooled. It does not apply to children attending schools in First Nations communities.
- All B.C. students are required to have their complete immunization records in the Provincial Immunization Registry. This applies to children from kindergarten to grade 12, in public and independent schools and those who are home-schooled.
- When you report your child’s immunization records to Vancouver Coastal Health, your Provincial records will also be updated. Learn how to check your child’s immunization record or how to report your child’s immunization record to VCH and more about immunization records.
- If someone at school has a vaccine-preventable disease, children who are unprotected (not immunized) may be asked to stay home until it is safe to return.
- Some children can not be immunized against certain diseases because of medical conditions. If other non-immunized children bring disease into a school, it can be serious and even deadly for those children.
- Your child could get seriously ill if a vaccine-preventable disease, such as mumps or measles, circulates in a school or community and they do not have immunity. Vaccines are safe and are your child's best protection. You can learn more about vaccine safetyand myths about vaccines.
Immunization schedules are often different from country to country. As a New Canadian there may be free vaccines that your child needs. Talk with your doctor or a nurse from your local public health unit to find out what vaccines your child may be missing.
Immunization rates by school
Immunization coverage refers to the proportion of a population that is appropriately immunized for a specific vaccine-preventable disease (VPD). Check the immunization rates for kindergarten students at all schools in VCH's region.