Vaccines are the best way to protect children against some very serious infections. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) strongly recommends routine immunization. The information presented in this section has been sourced from the Ontario Ministry of Health. The Ottawa Public Health website also contains vaccination details based on Ministry of Health guidelines.

For more information, please visit their websites:

Ontario Ministry of Health

Ottawa Public Health

All of your child’s vaccinations should be recorded in their immunization record. Please bring your child’s yellow immunization record with you to visits, so it can be kept up to date.

An electronic medical record of all immunizations given at the West Carleton Family Health Team will be maintained in your child’s medical chart.

You can also access your child’s entire immunization record, at any time, on our Health Portal. Please register each of your children on the Portal, as well as yourself.

  • Rotarix (Rotavirus) - oral vaccine

    Rotarix (Rotavirus)

    What does Rotarix protect against?

    Rotarix protects against the rotavirus, which is the leading cause of gastroenteritis and diarrheal ailments in young children. These ailments can cause fatigue, fussiness, loss of appetite, dehydration, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

    What is the rotavirus?

    This is a virus affecting the intestinal tract, more specifically the bowels. Upon causing infection, it inflames the intestinal tract causing the symptoms as listed above.

    How does the rotavirus spread?

    This virus can spread very easily by direct contact with contaminated stool. The stool contains the virus which, with improper hand washing, can be spread to door knobs, light switches and other commonly touched items. Babies will often search in their diapers and spread the virus onto more surfaces like toys, floors and bedding. Soiled diapers must also be handled with care as they can transmit the virus as well.

    How safe is Rotarix?

    This vaccine is very safe and most infants who receive it do not experience any side effects at all. The most common side effects are irritability and diarrhea. Less commonly, dermatitis (skin irritation), abdominal pain and flatulence can occur. Even more rarely, allergic reaction could occur and in extreme cases an increased risk of intussusception (telescoping of the bowel) is possible.

    How effective is Rotarix?

    The Rotarix vaccine has shown 85-96% efficacy against severe rotavirus gastroenteritis. During the first year after vaccination, efficacy against rotavirus gastroenteritis of any severity was around 70-87%.

    Why is this vaccine important?

    This vaccine has been proven to reduce hospitalizations and visits to the doctor by protecting your infant against the rotavirus. The rotavirus can spread quickly without protection from vaccine in areas where many young children are present, like daycare, preschools, hospitals and clinics. Symptoms associated with contracting the rotavirus can be quite severe and in rare cases, have resulted in death.

    Who is eligible for this vaccine and when should it be received?

    All children residing in Ontario are eligible for the publicly funded rotavirus vaccine. It should be administered at ages 2 and 4 months, ensuring at least 4 weeks in between each administration. Both portions of the vaccine should be provided before the infant is 24 weeks of age.

    Who should NOT get this vaccine?

    Your infant should not receive this vaccine if any of the following apply:

    • Had an allergy to a previous dose of this vaccine or any of its components;
    • Suspected or known immunocompromising conditions;
    • Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Disorder (SCID);
    • A history of intussusception;
    • Uncorrected congenital abdominal disorders (such as Mechel’s diverticulum);
    • Received blood products, including immunoglobulin within 42 days; or
    • Severe allergy to latex requires special consideration before vaccination.
  • Pediacel (DTaP-IPV-HiB)

    Pediacel (Diptheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Polio, Haemophilius influenzae type b)

    What does the Pediacel vaccine protect against?

    Pediacel is the name-brand of the vaccine that protects against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, poliomyelitis, and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) which can cause other serious diseases.

    What are diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and HiB?

    Diphtheria: This is an infection of mucous membranes of the throat, nose, and skin. The infection is bacterial and can be quite serious, especially in younger infants. Diphtheria causes death in approximately 10% of all persons who contract it.

    Tetanus: Tetanus, or Lockjaw, is also a bacterial infection. It is most often caused as a result of a dirt substance containing bacteria entering an open wound but this isn’t always the case. The bacterium Clostridium tetani produces a toxin that affects the nervous system causing muscular stiffness, resulting in mobility issues.

    Pertussis: Pertussis is also known as Whooping Cough and is caused by the bacterium Bortadella. This disease is highly contagious and greatly affects the lungs causing uncontrollable coughing fits and difficult breathing.

    Haemophilus influenza type B (HiB): This bacterial infection is most commonly referred to as Hib and can cause an array of other diseases, most gravely brain infections that are potentially deadly in small children. The most common diseases Hib can cause are pneumonia, meningitis, cellulitis, otitis media (ear infection), arthritis, and other general infections throughout the body. Hib is contagious and can remain contagious even after symptoms have passed. An aggressive antibiotic treatment is used for this infection, but is not always effective.

    How can these diseases spread?

    Diphtheria: Diphtheria is contagious and can pass from person to person via droplets. Droplets are often a product of coughing or sneezing and contain bacterium allowing the disease to transmit.

    Tetanus: This infection cannot be spread from one person to another. The Clostridium tetani bacterium must enter a wound for the tetanus infection to manifest.

    Pertussis: Pertussis is highly contagious and is spread by person to person contact. There has been no definitive testing to prove that pertussis is spread by droplets, but fluids from an infected person can be transmitted by direct contact.

    Haemophilus influenza type B: Hib is contagious and can remain contagious even after symptoms have passed. An aggressive antibiotic treatment is used for this infection, but is not always effective.

    How safe is the Pediacel vaccine?

    This vaccine is very safe. Severe side effects from Pediacel are very rare. More commonly some swelling, redness, and or mild pain can occur at the injection site. Occasionally, a child may experience a rash, fever, mild short-term loss of appetite, fussiness, or drowsiness. Acetaminophen has been shown effective in reducing these symptoms.

    Your doctor can address any concerns you have relating to side effects from this vaccine. Always seek medical attention if you feel these symptoms have persisted longer than anticipated.

    Call your doctor/nurse practitioner or go to the nearest hospital emergency department if your child has any of the following within three days of getting the shot:

    • high fever (over 40°C or 104 °F)
    • crying for more than three hours
    • convulsions or seizures
    • very pale colour and serious drowsiness
    • hives
    • swelling of the face or mouth
    • trouble breathing
    • other serious problems not listed

    There is no risk of a pregnant woman or anyone else catching any disease from a child who has been vaccinated recently. You should always discuss the benefits and risks of any vaccine with your doctor.

    How effective is the Pediacel vaccine?

    When DTaP-IPV-Hib vaccine is given in the recommended number of shots, it protects over 95 per cent of children against diphtheria, virtually 100% of children against tetanus, 85% of children against pertussis, 99 per cent of children against polio and around 95% of children against serious Hib infections. It will not prevent meningitis caused by other germs.

    Why is this vaccine important?

    All vaccinations are important to aid in the prevention of childhood and life term diseases. Receiving Pediacel has shown to reduce hospitalizations for the associated diseases and related complications. Vaccinations have been proven to greatly reduce the severity of diseases should they be contracted in rare cases.

    Who is eligible for this vaccine and when should it be received?

    All children residing in Ontario and adults who have not received this publicly funded vaccination (for various reasons) are eligible. It is a requirement by Ontario law to provide proof of this vaccination for children attending school. Pediacel is provided during routine Well Child Checks at ages 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 18 months, and 4 to 6 years.

    Who should NOT get this vaccine?

    A patient experiencing certain symptoms may have to postpone their vaccination. Please notify the office if your child is experiencing any of the following prior to their scheduled appointment:

    • a high fever or serious infection worse than a cold
    • a severe allergy to an antibiotic called neomycin, streptomycin or polymyxin B
    • a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to DTaP-IPV-Hib vaccine
    • a severe allergy to any component of this vaccine in the past