Do you know if your child’s immunizations are up-to-date?

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Think back to when you registered your child for school. You may remember that you were asked to provide a copy of your child’s immunization record for the school to share with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. But what parents often want to know is WHY?!?

In Ontario, the law (Immunization of School Pupils Act) requires local health units to receive proof that specific immunizations are up to date for every child attending school. Sharing your child’s immunization record with the health unit is needed to ensure everyone is protected from common diseases.

There’s more – as children grow they need different vaccines to achieve the best protection. Many families don’t know that they also need to continue to update the health unit every time their child receives a new immunization from their family doctor or health care provider. If you do not provide this immunization information to the health unit, your child could be temporarily suspended from school.

It’s easy to update your child’s immunization record. You can share this information with the health unit online or call the Health Connection line.

All students in elementary and secondary school need to provide proof of up to date immunizations for:

  • Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis and polio;
  • Measles, mumps, and rubella;
  • Meningococcal disease.

Students born in 2010 or later also need to provide proof of Varicella (Chickenpox) vaccine.

Not sure if your child has had all of these important immunizations? You can start by checking their yellow immunization card – this should have a list of all the vaccines they’ve received from your family doctor or healthcare provider. You can also visit the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s website to see a copy of the recommended immunization schedule.

If you have any questions about your child’s vaccinations, give Health Connection a call at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520.  The nurses on our vaccine team can help you find the information you’ll need to make sure your child’s record stays up-to-date.

~ Stephanie Jones RN
(Follow on Twitter @SMHealthySchool)

 

2 thoughts on “Do you know if your child’s immunizations are up-to-date?

  1. Rita

    You are misleading your readers by not mentioning that Ontario has exemptions available to any parent who wishes to refrain from vaccinating their children. And this, from the Canadian National Report on Immunization, 1996: “Unlike some countries, immunization is not mandatory in Canada; it cannot be made mandatory because of the Canadian Constitution. Only three provinces have legislation or regulations under their health-protection acts to require proof of immunization for school entrance. … It must be emphasized that, in these three provinces, exceptions are permitted for medical or religious grounds and reasons of conscience; legislation and regulations must not be interpreted to imply compulsory immunization.”

    1. Thank you for your comment. The intent of the post is to encourage families to ensure that their children’s vaccination records are up to date with the health unit. We certainly do not want to mislead parents. You are correct that in Ontario, parents have the right not to vaccinate their children for medical, religious or conscientious reasons. In these cases parents still need to provide documentation to the health unit. Medical exemptions need to be completed by a health care provider. An affidavit form may be obtained for religious or conscientious belief by calling the health unit.

      Children with medical exemptions or affidavits on file may be removed from school during a disease outbreak. Unvaccinated children are also at greater risk for disease and may place other children at risk that are possibly not able to be immunized due to medical conditions.

      Families or students wanting more information to help make an informed decision about immunization can contact the health unit’s Vaccine Preventable Disease Team at 705-721-7520 at 1-877-721-7520 ext. 8807. The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care also offers some information online for parents who choose not to vaccinate their children to help with understanding risks and responsibilities.

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