Only two weeks left to update secondary school vaccination records before suspension day

Posted on Wednesday April 17, 2024

Waterloo Region – Families have only two weeks left to update their child’s vaccination records, obtain vaccines needed or apply for an exemption before secondary school suspensions take effect on Wednesday, May 1, 2024.

On April 8, 2024, the Region of Waterloo Public Health issued 6,819 suspension orders under the Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA) to secondary school students whose vaccination records were not up to date with Public Health. 

As of April 15, 2024, 4,289 vaccination records remain outdated. The majority of secondary school students who are not up-to-date on their vaccinations are missing one or both of:

  • the Meningococcal ACYW-135 vaccine and/or
  • their teen booster of Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis (Tdap)
    • The Tdap booster is required 10 years after the previous dose (usually given between four and six years of age)

“The vaccines required for secondary students prevent serious illnesses which can have life-changing consequences,” said Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, Medical Officer of Health. “We want to prevent suspension and, more importantly, ensure our high school students are protected against these diseases.”

Report a vaccine to Public Health  

If your child has received the vaccines listed on the Immunization Notice:  

  • Report them to Public Health. Due to a high volume of vaccine records being submitted, please allow for three to five business days before inquiring about updated records.  
  • Please only submit your child’s record once. We will follow up if your child’s record is not up to date.

Get a vaccine  

If your child has received an Immunization Notice and needs a vaccine:

Secondary school suspension date is May 1, 2024.   

Questions? Need help? 

  • Visit the Region of Waterloo Public Health to learn more about school and childcare vaccinations 
  • Call Region of Waterloo Public Health at 519-575-4400, (TTY) call 519-575-4608. Interpreters are available in over 150 languages. 

Background

During the pandemic, Public Health saw a decline in vaccine coverage rates in school-aged children. Routine vaccinations provide protection against Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Diphtheria, Tetanus, Polio, Meningococcal, Pertussis (whooping cough), and Varicella (chickenpox). 

In January, Region of Waterloo Public Health sent 10,425 suspension notices under the Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA) to secondary school students whose vaccination records were not up to date with Public Health. Since that time, Public Health has run catch-up clinics, conducted public outreach and launched a marketing campaign to encourage families to update their vaccination records and get the routine vaccines needed to stay in school. 

The last time ISPA was enforced in Waterloo Region was in 2019 with approximately 1,032 students suspended at that time.

The Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA) requires all elementary and secondary school students to have proof of these vaccinations or a valid exemption on file with Public Health. 

 

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