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Before, during and after immunization

What you need to know before, during, and after an immunization appointment.

1. Learn about the vaccines you need

Immunization (getting a vaccine) is one of the best ways to protect yourself, your family, and the people around you from certain serious diseases. Some vaccines protect for life, and others need to be repeated with a booster dose.

It’s important to get the recommended vaccines on schedule to make sure you get the best possible protection.

Vaccines are not just for babies and children. Adults may also be at risk for certain diseases due to age, job, lifestyle, travel, or health conditions.

2. Book an appointment

After you learn which vaccines may be recommended for you, book an immunization appointment.

If you are driving to your appointment, ask where you can park or if you need to pay for parking if you are not sure.

If you need help to get to your immunization appointment, call 211 after you book the appointment to learn about transportation supports near you.

3. Prepare for the appointment

Documents to bring

Gather the documents you'll need to bring to the appointment:

  • your Alberta healthcare card (if you forget to bring this to the appointment, you can still get a vaccine)
  • your photo ID (such as a driver’s licence or passport) or 2 pieces of non-photo ID (such as a birth certificate or healthcare card)
  • any immunizations records you have

If your child is getting a vaccine, you'll need to bring:

  • your child’s Alberta healthcare card (if you forget to bring this to the appointment, your child can still get a vaccine)
  • your photo ID or 2 pieces of non-photo ID
  • any immunization records you have for your child

If you have recently adopted a child, are caring for a foster child, or are acting as a child’s guardian, you will need to bring other documents showing you are authorized as the decision-maker for the child. These documents are required for the child to be immunized. If you have questions about what to bring, call your local public health or community health centre.

Planning for the appointment

Plan to spend 30 to 60 minutes at your appointment. This includes a short wait to watch for side effects after getting a vaccine. Sometimes appointments will take more time, and your patience is appreciated when this happens.

On the day of your appointment, wear clothing that will allow easy access to your upper arm, such as a loose t-shirt. For babies, choose clothing that is easy to take off or that keeps their upper legs free for the immunization.

To help you prepare for your appointment, learn where on your body the needle is given. This can also help if you plan to use numbing medicine.

If you have a fear of needles or concerns about pain from getting a vaccine, AHS Commitment to Comfort has ideas and tips to make immunization easier.

As a parent, it’s OK — and normal — to feel a bit nervous about your child getting a vaccine. We have tips to help you get ready and to help your child be as comfortable as possible when they get a vaccine.

4. If you need to cancel or reschedule

To cancel or reschedule a routine immunization appointment, call your local public health or community health centre or Health Link at 811.

If you used the online Alberta Vaccine Booking System to book an appointment for influenza or COVID-19 vaccine, you can cancel your appointment online. Your appointment confirmation email or text message will also have a link to cancel or reschedule your appointment.

If you or your child feels unwell on the day of your appointment, call the public health or community health centre to let them know. Although you can get most vaccines if you have a mild illness like a cold or fever, you should stay home until you are feeling better to prevent spreading your illness to others.

Current as of: June 30, 2023
Author: Provincial Immunization Program, Alberta Health Services
Our work takes place on historical and contemporary Indigenous lands, including the territories of Treaty 6, Treaty 7 & Treaty 8 and the homeland of the Métis Nation of Alberta and 8 Métis Settlements. We also acknowledge the many Indigenous communities that have been forged in urban centres across Alberta.