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Monday, March 12, 2018

Enforcement of the Immunization of School Pupils Act For Elementary School Grades in Waterloo Region

On March 28, elementary students with immunization records still not up-to-date will be suspended from school.

It's not too late for parents to call Public Health to update their child's record/immunization. During the fall of 2017, Public Health sent 10,306 notices to parents with children who have immunization records that are not up-to-date with Region of Waterloo Public Health.

To date, more than half of these students' records are still outstanding. Public Health is sending out 5,606 suspension orders this week.

Parents who receive a suspension order have up until March 27, 2018 to provide proof of immunization or a valid exemption to Public Health or their child will be suspended from school for a period of up to 20 days.

Region of Waterloo Public Health is required to collect, review and maintain the immunization records of all students attending school in Waterloo Region. This is done to ensure the immunization status of all children is up-to-date to prevent illnesses in the event of a vaccine preventable disease outbreak.

The Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA) requires students be immunized against tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox (for those born after 2010) and meningococcal disease. Records of immunization must be provided to Public Health.

With appropriate legal documentation, exemptions based on medical or conscience/religious reasons are allowed.

If parents are requesting an exemption based on conscience/religious reasons, the legislation was changed in 2017 making it a requirement for those parents to first complete an education session at Public Health before completing the exemption paperwork. If parents are requesting non-medical exemptions for their child/children, Public Health is urging them to call and arrange a session. They can call 519-575-4400 ext. 5003 to book a session or speak to a nurse about this requirement.

"Enforcing the law ensures children and our community are protected against vaccine preventable diseases," says David Aoki, Manager Vaccine Preventable Disease. "Parents need to provide proof of immunization or an exemption directly to Public Health."

Parents may contact their healthcare provider or family physician to obtain immunization records and/or immunizations. For those without a family physician, Public Health offers immunization clinics in both Waterloo and Cambridge offices.

Parents can make an appointment by calling 519-575-4400 ext. 5003. A listing of Walk-in Clinics at Region of Waterloo Public Health can be found on the regions website.

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