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Middlesex-London Health Unit

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Vaccine Information

Vaccines are the safest and most effective way to guard against certain diseases. The best protection comes from being vaccinated, according to the Ontario Immunization Schedule. The vaccines within the Ontario Immunization Schedule have been well tested and researched, and provide optimal protection when given in the right amount of doses and at the right time.

Vaccines protect you - and everyone around you.

Vaccines are not just for children and babies. Everyone needs to be protected. Immunization protects you and everyone around you, especially babies, elderly persons, and people with lowered immune systems. Diseases can travel quickly throughout the world, and people who are not protected by vaccines can become very ill very fast.


Contact Us

If you have questions about vaccines, please call the Health Unit to speak with a Public Health Nurse.

Monday to Friday
8:30AM to 4:30PM


Vaccine Fact Sheets 

Find vaccine fact sheets here from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

  • Health care providers and the Middlesex-London Health Unit Immunization Clinic administer vaccines that are listed withi n the Ontario Immunization Schedule.
  • Public Health Nurses at the Immunization Clinic determine dosing, scheduling, and brands used for all immunizations to be given, depending on the acceptable schedule and eligibility criteria.
  • The Clinic prioritizes appointments for those under 18 years old requiring vaccines on the Ontario Schedule. Individuals cannot be seen at the Clinic without an appointment.
  • The Health Unit's Immunization Clinic does not provide any vaccines for travel purposes (please go to a Travel Clinic)

Are vaccines safe?

Vaccines have been thoroughly tested, and the research shows that they are safe. They are tested before, during, and after they are made, to ensure that they meet very high standards. There are systems in place to make sure that vaccines are being used safely, and that they are protecting people against the diseases that they were made for. Severe side effects to vaccines are very rare and are tracked in Canada to ensure ongoing vaccine safety.

What are normal side effects from vaccines? 

  • Sore arm (keep it moving!)
  • Redness and swelling at the site (the vaccine is actively working!)
  • Headache and tiredness
  • Young children may be fussy
  • Fainting is usually a result of being anxious or worried about the vaccine (not due to the vaccine itself)
  • Low grade fever (you can take medication for fever if it becomes high. Do not take medication before getting vaccines - it is not recommended or required)

What are some serious side effects from vaccines? 

  • Serious side effects are very rare, and usually will occur in the first 15 minutes after a vaccine is given
  • Allergy to parts of a vaccine can produce symptoms such as trouble breathing, hives, swelling of the face and mouth, and wheezing
  • Stay at your health care provider's office for 15 minutes after vaccines, so that they can help you if you have a serious reaction. If you have left the office and then have a reaction, call 911 for emergency workers to come to help you.  
  • These types of reactions are reported and tracked in Canada, and should be reported to your local health unit

Do vaccines work?

The World Health Organization (2011) states that vaccines are very beneficial and worth their cost, and that more than two million lives are saved each year through immunization programs around the world. Vaccines are continually monitored to ensure that they prevent diseases.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (2012) reports the following vaccine successes: 

In 1974, pertussis vaccine was not given to many people in the United Kingdom. As a result, by 1978 there was an outbreak of the disease, with more than 100,000 people getting pertussis, and 36 people dying. The vaccine was then started to be given to everyone again, and today the disease and death rates are much lower.

In the 1990’s, the Soviet Union had a diphtheria epidemic after children and adults stopped being immunized for diphtheria. In 1989 there were 839 cases, and in 1994 there were 50,000. 1,700 people lost their lives due to diphtheria. The vaccine has since been used on an ongoing basis and the rates are much lower.

In 2007 in Quebec, there were two outbreaks of measles after many years of very low rates. 90% of the people affected were either unimmunized, or did not have two full doses of the MMR vaccine. 

Vaccines (also called immunizations) remain the safest and most efficient way to guard against many different diseases and illnesses. The best protection comes from being vaccinated according to the Ontario schedule. It is very important to stay up to date with all doses of vaccines that are required at each age and stage of life.

A vaccine is usually given by a needle. It helps the immune system protect the body against infection or diseases. Antibodies (a type of protein) and lymphocytes (special white blood cells) are made by the immune system to destroy specific germs. Vaccines help the body make these important cells and they are stored until the body needs them.

Vaccines contain small parts of specific germs, or inactivated germs. The immune system reacts to the vaccine to make the proper immunity (memory) cells. When germs enter the body at a later time, these memory cells kill them before they have a chance to infect the body. When vaccines are given on time and in the right number of doses, this protection can last a long time. Each vaccine type helps the body become immune to specific types of illnesses. There are many vaccines now that help to protect against a lot of different diseases so it is important to keep track of which ones you or your child have had. Sometimes more than one dose of a vaccine type is required over time to keep the antibody level high enough in the body to fight off actual disease.

Immunity can also happen from being sick with one of these diseases. Vaccines create the same amount of immune protection without the person needing to be sick first. There are less side effects and risks from vaccines than there are from a disease or illness.

Date of creation: February 25, 2013
Last modified on: June 28, 2023


1Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. Immunization Information. Retrieved from
2Public Health Agency of Canada - Canadian Immunization Guide Retrieved from