More Clinics Added to Support Students Overdue on Immunizations
An unprecedented number of over 1,374 students have not updated their vaccination records.
PORT HOPE, ON (January 11, 2024) – The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit (HKPR District Health Unit) is sending a final reminder to parents/legal guardians to ensure their child is up to date on their immunizations and to update their child’s vaccination record with the Health Unit to avoid suspension from school this February.
The Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA) R.S.O.1990 requires all students in Ontario to be vaccinated, or have a valid exemption, against tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, meningococcal disease and varicella. The HKPR District Health Unit is required to maintain and review vaccine records and exemptions for every student attending school within the City of Kawartha Lakes, the County of Haliburton, and Northumberland County. Those with incomplete records are at risk of being suspended from school for up to 20 days.
Throughout the 2022-23 school year, the HKPR District Health Unit addressed the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic by mailing out notices to parents of students who were overdue for immunizations. The importance of maintaining up to date records with the Health Unit was reiterated within the notice. This educational approach led to over 2,700 immunization records being updated since the fall of 2022 when the enforcement program resumed following the pandemic.
“As part of our continued work to prevent the spread of vaccine preventable diseases our teams have been working diligently with local school boards to support parents through the process of updating vaccines and records with the Health Unit,” says Dr. Natalie Bocking, Medical Officer of Health, and CEO for the HKPR District Health Unit. “I am proud of the progress we’ve made and would like to deliver thanks to all the parents and legal guardians who have taken the steps to updates their child’s immunization record.”
This January, the HKPR District Health Unit will be mailing out 1,374 suspension notices to parents of students in Grades 3 and Grades 9 to 12 who do not meet the ISPA requirements. This means the student’s record with the Health Unit is missing information, either because a parent and/or guardian has not yet submitted the immunization information or a valid exemption to the Health Unit, or the student has not yet received the immunizations. If the Health Unit does not receive the required information for a student’s immunization file, they will be suspended from school starting February 5, 2024, for up to 20 days or until public health records are updated to meet ISPA requirements.
How to Update Your Child’s Immunization Record with the Health Unit
Parents and/or guardians need to ensure their child’s immunization records with the Health Unit are up to date by:
- CHECK: Check your child’s immunization record for any missing vaccines.
Go to the Immunization Connect Ontario (ICON) web site or contact the Health Unit.
- VACCINATE: Ensure your child receives any missing vaccinations or has a valid exemption.
Contact your health care provider or the Health Unit to book an immunization appointment.
- UPDATE: Update your child’s immunization record with the Health Unit.
It is the responsibility of parents and/or guardians to provide proof of immunization or a valid exemption by one of the following methods:
“We have updated hundreds of records in the past year, and we want to avoid suspension by encouraging parents to please update their child’s vaccination records,” says Marianne Rock, Manager of Communicable Disease Prevention and Control with the HKPR District Health Unit. “Most students who receive notices have their immunizations and just need to update their records with the Health Unit as we do not receive updates from health care providers. We are here to support families by helping parents complete their child’s immunization record, whether that be updating the incomplete file or booking an appointment at a clinic to receive a missing vaccination.”
School-aged Immunization Clinics
Since August 2023, the HKPR District Health Unit has been hosting School-aged Immunization Clinics* to help support parents of students ages 4 to 17 years who are missing required vaccinations for school. Parents are encouraged to book an appointment online or by calling 1-866-888-4577 x 1507 for an upcoming clinic:
- Tuesday, January 16 (Port Hope)
- Monday, January 22 (Lindsay)
- Tuesday, January 23 (Campbellford)
- Wednesday, January 24 (Lindsay)
- Friday, January 26 (Haliburton)
- Tuesday, January 30 (Campbellford)
- Monday, January 29 (Lindsay)
- Wednesday, January 31 (Port Hope)
*Please note: Clinic dates and locations are subject to change. For more information, please visit events.hkpr.on.ca
- Ministry of Health: Ontario’s Publicly Funded Immunizations Schedule