Thousands of Halton Students Facing Suspension Over Incomplete Vaccination
If you’re in high school in Oakville, Burlington, Milton, and Halton Hills, you’ll want to read this and find those immunization forms shoved into your locker.
Or send the link to your parents.
All high school students in Halton Region are being asked to report their up-to-date immunization records or exemption to the health department by Feb. 8 or risk being suspended from school for up to 20 days, starting Feb. 9.
“As of January 16, 2018, there were 5,622 high school students born between 2000 and 2003 who have out-of-date immunization records on file with the Halton Region health department,” said Halton Region spokesperson Heather Burnett.
In 2017, 140 high school students born in 1999 and 2000 were suspended as a result of having out-of-date immunization records on file with the Halton Health Department, said Burnett.
The Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA) outlines a 20-day suspension period, which can be rescinded as soon as the student provides up-to-date immunization records.
Subsequent suspension periods are then at the discretion of the Medical Officer of Health.
There were 203 suspensions in 2016.
“In order to keep the community healthy and safe from the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases, the Halton Region health department is reviewing the immunization records of high school students in Halton to ensure they are up-to-date with important vaccines,” said medical officer of health Dr. Hamidah Meghani.
“While the majority of families in Halton have up to date immunizations, many are unaware that they need to update the health department after every immunization.”
The ISPA became law in 1990. It protects the health of children and communities by ensuring students are up-to-date with their immunizations to stop the spread of vaccine preventable diseases.
Immunizations required for school-aged children include:
- Meningococcal disease.
- Varicella (chicken pox) - required for children born in 2010 or later.
Current high school students born between 2000 and 2003 with incomplete immunization records received advanced notices in Sept. 2017, according to the Region.
These notices included which vaccine(s) were missing from the student’s record, how to arrange for immunization and how to submit records to the health department.
The Region says the health department offered 32 clinics in November and December 2017, providing meningococcal immunization in high schools to ensure “easy access” for those students born in 2000-2003 who required this vaccine to avoid suspension.
Other vaccines are available through a family doctor.
The onus is on parents, not doctors, to update records.
Here’s how to report immunizations to the health department:
- Parents or guardians can submit a photo of their child’s immunization record online at halton.ca/immunize or through the OneHalton app.
- Families can also call 311, drop off or mail a copy of their child’s immunization record to the Halton Region Health Department at 1151 Bronte Road in Oakville, L6M 3L1 or any of the Halton Region Health clinics in Acton, Burlington, Georgetown, Milton and Oakville.
Click here for more information about ISPA and immunization.
Halton Region lists physicians who are new to the Halton area and are accepting new patients.
The Regional Municipality of Halton serves more than 500,000 residents in Oakville, Burlington, Milton, and Halton Hills.