Alberta Health Services
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.
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.
Gather the documents you'll need to bring to the appointment:
If your child is getting a vaccine, you'll need to bring:
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.
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.
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.
When you arrive for your appointment, follow any safety guidelines that may be in place, such as washing your hands or keeping your distance from others. Ask the staff if you have any questions.
AHS sites have staff to help you check in for your appointment. They may also be able to help you book an appointment for your or your child’s next immunization if needed.
If your address or phone number has changed, let the staff know.
AHS sites are wheelchair accessible and have accessible washrooms.
At the appointment, your nurse will ask questions about your health or your child’s health before giving any vaccines. This may include questions about:
Your nurse will guide you on what is safe, based on this health history.
Parental or legal guardian consent for children under the age of 18 (minors) is required before getting a vaccine. There may be times when a child is considered a mature minor who can consent for themself to get immunized. This is decided on a case-by-case basis.
AHS is committed to making your experience as comfortable as possible. Find tips to help your child during immunization and find information for all ages at AHS Commitment to Comfort.
You will be asked to stay at the clinic for at least 15 minutes after getting a vaccine. Some people may have a rare but serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. If anaphylaxis happens, you will get medicine to treat the symptoms.
After your child's immunization:
In Alberta, you can access your immunization records online or in person.
It is important to keep a record of any vaccines you or your child get, including a list of any side effects to the vaccines.
Ask for a record whenever you have an immunization appointment. Keep the records in a safe place.
In certain situations, you may need to submit your own immunization records. Learn more about how and when to submit your record.
You may need proof of your child’s immunizations for school or daycare. And you may need to show proof of your immunizations for school, work, or travel.
There can be mild, short-term side effects after getting a vaccine. The side effects depend on which vaccine you got. Side effects may include:
It is rare to have a serious side effect after a vaccine. Some people may have a rare but serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. If anaphylaxis happens, you will get medicine to treat the symptoms. For a list of common side effects, refer to the information for the vaccine you got.
Here are tips to manage side effects at home:
Some people with health problems, such as a weak immune system, must call their doctor if they get a fever. If you were told to do this, call your doctor even if you think the fever is from the vaccine.
It’s rare to have a serious side effect after a vaccine. Call Health Link at 811 to report any serious or unusual side effects or if you have questions about side effects after getting a vaccine.