Although there are no mandatory vaccinations for children in Canada, the Government of Quebec has set up the Quebec Immunization Program (QIP), a system designed to protect the population against infectious diseases by providing free vaccinations and ensuring constant public health surveillance.

In our article, find out more about the importance of vaccination for your children’s collective health, and the vaccines recommended by age.

3 important reasons to vaccinate your child

Vaccination is the best way to protect your children and those around them from contagious and dangerous diseases. It is important to follow the vaccination schedule recommended in Quebec for several major reasons:

  1. Protect the most fragile: Children, especially babies and toddlers, have more fragile immune systems, putting them at greater risk of contracting disease.
  2. Avoid complications: Some illnesses, such as the flu, may seem harmless, but can lead to long-term and serious complications, even fatal.
  3. Reinforcing herd immunity: Vaccination offers double protection, safeguarding not only the health of the child, but also that of the entire community, both children and adults, by limiting the spread of contagious diseases such as measles and rubella.

Vaccines are safe, effective and the risks associated with vaccination are very rare. The WHO estimates that pediatric vaccines save more than 4 million lives every year1. If you have any doubts about the risks of a vaccine, talk to a healthcare professional.

What vaccines are covered in Quebec?

In Quebec, the Ministry of Health and Social Services2 has set up the Quebec Immunization Program (QIP)3, which establishes a schedule of free vaccinations based on the child’s age. The QIP recommends several vaccines to protect your children against highly contagious and/or potentially dangerous diseases:

  • Measles: a highly contagious respiratory disease that can cause brain damage and other complications, and is sometimes fatal.
  • Mumps: contagious disease that causes inflammation of the salivary glands and can lead to permanent deafness.
  • Polio (poliomyelitis virus): a viral disease that can lead to permanent paralysis.
  • Tetanus: contracted by infection of a wound or injury, affects nerves and muscles.
  • Meningitis and pneumonia (haemophilus influenzae virus, meningococcus C and pneumococcus): can cause brain damage and lung infection.
  • Rubella: highly contagious respiratory disease that can lead to bleeding and encephalitis.
  • Diphtheria: contagious respiratory infection.
  • Pertussis: infection of the lungs and respiratory tract.
  • Hepatitis B: can cause liver disease.
  • Rotavirus: gastroenteritis in infants and young children.
  • Influenza: respiratory infection that can have serious consequences for infants.
  • Chickenpox: contagious disease that causes vesicles to erupt on the skin and mucous membranes.
  • Human papillomavirus: in girls, possibly responsible for cervical cancer and genital infections.

Vaccination schedule for babies and toddlers

The PIQ recommends the following vaccination schedule for children aged 0-18 months.

Immunization schedule for babies in Québec - QIP

Vaccination schedule for school-age children

Immunization schedule for school-age children in Québec - QIP

Source: Québec Immunization Program

Quebec offers the vaccines included in the QIP free of charge, and recommendations may evolve. Depending on your child’s state of health, lifestyle, activities or travel plans, other vaccines may also be recommended. Please contact a healthcare professional for the latest vaccine recommendations.

How do I know if my child’s vaccinations are up to date?

To find out whether you or your child’s vaccinations are up to date, please refer to your child’s vaccination record.

  • Consult the vaccination record: Your child should have a health record with all the vaccinations he or she has received. You can check this record to see which vaccinations have been given, on what dates and which ones are due in the future.
  • Check Quebec.ca: If you can’t find your child’s vaccination record, you can request a copy of this information on Quebec.ca.
  • Consult your family doctor or pediatrician: If you have any doubts or questions about your child’s vaccination schedule, don’t hesitate to consult your doctor or pediatrician. They’ll be able to check your child’s vaccination status and advise you on the vaccines he or she needs.

Where can I have my child vaccinated?

It is recommended to schedule an appointment as soon as possible to avoid waiting times and thus adhere to the immunization schedule. Several healthcare establishments from ELNA Medical network offer vaccination, including the following:

RAMQ family doctors or pediatricians :If you are already affiliated with a family doctor or pediatrician, you can request a consultation. Book an appointment.

Private family doctors or pediatricians: If you don’t have a RAMQ doctor or would like a no-wait appointment, private clinics accept new patients and offer no-wait appointments. Book an appointment.

Laboratories: A subsidiary of ELNA Medical, CDL Laboratories offer private vaccination services for children with no waiting times. Book an appointment.

Pediatric travel clinics: Depending on your destination, your child may need to be vaccinated against specific diseases such as yellow fever, dengue fever or malaria. Travel health clinics can advise on and administer mandatory and recommended vaccines. Book an appointment.

For further information, please contact a clinic.

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1 : WHO – Vaccines and immunization: What is vaccination?
2 : Ministère de la Santé et Services sociaux
3 : Quebec Immunization Program