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Immunization & Vaccines

Immunization is a proven public health measure that helps control and eliminate serious and life-threatening infectious diseases.


ImmunizeBC is our evidence-based website of immunization information and tools. You can find material on: 

  • what vaccines are and how they work
  • recommended vaccines
  • vaccine-preventable diseases
  • the safety of vaccines
  • immunization schedules
  • immunization record cards 

The site also includes a clinic finder and tools and resources to help you stay up to date about vaccines and vaccinations.

“Immunization is the process whereby a person is made immune or resistant to an infectious disease, typically by the administration of a vaccine. Vaccines stimulate the body’s own immune system to protect the person against subsequent infection or disease.”
–World Health Organization 

While immunity can also be achieved through natural exposure to a naturally occurring virus, this comes at the risk of serious disease, hospitalization and potentially even death. 

It is estimated that 2 to 3 million deaths are prevented each year by current immunization programs and vaccines. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) credits immunization as saving more lives in the last 50 years than any other health measure.

How vaccines work 

Natural infection from certain diseases can kill or seriously harm an individual before the body is able to mount an effective immune response. Vaccines, on the other hand, trigger the body’s natural immune response to produce the necessary antibodies before exposure to the virus. This way, if exposed to the virus, the body has the necessary antibodies to fight off the infection.  

Vaccines contain tiny amounts of material that make the immune system produce certain proteins, called “antibodies”, which can attack and destroy viruses and bacteria. The immune system stores the information about how to make these antibodies and later, even many years later, when the body is exposed to that same bacteria or virus, the body “remembers” how to make the antibodies. The body produces the antibodies again, stopping the virus or bacteria from causing illness.


Immunization protects both individuals and the larger population by preventing the spread of infections. Achieving and maintaining a high level of immunization coverage in a population is important in helping to provide the best protection against vaccine-preventable diseases. 

Polio has been eliminated in North and South America because most of the population in these continents has been immunized. Many other infectious diseases (such as diphtheria, measles and mumps)  are very rare because of vaccination.

The BC Ministry of Health approves publicly funded vaccine programs and allocates money to PHSA to purchase publicly funded vaccines. The Government of Canada, through Public Works, has established long-term contracts with vaccine manufacturers and assists in providing national oversight to this process and ensures vaccine purchases are coordinated, equitable and affordable.

In BC, the provincial vaccine supply is determined for the upcoming year based upon a number of different projections from BCCDC. The provincial influenza vaccine supply, for example, is forecasted eight months in advance of the influenza season by each health authority. Local public health units are allocated a proportion of the influenza vaccines forecast by their health authority. They are therefore constrained by a pre-determined vaccine allocation from their health authority, and influenza vaccine availability to them and community vaccine providers such as physicians and pharmacists may be limited. 

Vaccine manufacturers are awarded contracts for publicly funded immunization programs. These manufacturers provide vaccines to BCCDC. Upon receipt of these vaccines, BCCDC supplies the vaccines to local public health units. Local public health units manage the supply and distribution of vaccines to community vaccine providers.

Kids Boost Immunity

Kids Boost Immunity has curated lessons with interactive quizzes that mirror your province's science, health and social studies curriculum.

I Boost Immunity

I Boost Immunity has quizzes that anyone can take to earn vaccines to donate from UNICEF Canada.

Disease Scene Investigation videos

Each video runs for about 6 minutes. 

SOURCE: Immunization & Vaccines ( )
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