Grade 7 School Clinics

Public Health provides the hepatitis B, human papillomavirus (HPV) and meningococcal vaccines for free to Grade 7 students annually through the school-based vaccination program. If your child is in Grade 7 this school year, they are eligible to receive these vaccines or complete their vaccine series if it has already begun.

2024/2025 school clinic dates

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Hepatitis B

 What is hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B is caused by a virus. It can result in permanent liver damage and scarring, leading to liver failure, liver cancer and even death. There is no cure for hepatitis B.

If exposed to the hepatitis B virus, most people fight it off and develop antibodies to it. Up to 10 per cent will carry the virus for life and continue to infect others. 

There are over 3,000 new cases in Canada each year. 

 How is hepatitis B spread?

Hepatitis B is transmitted through contact with the blood and other body fluids from an infected person. You can acquire hepatitis B from:

  • Intimate contact
  • Used needles
  • Body/ear piercing or tattooing with dirty equipment

Contact with infected blood can result from something as simple as a child being involved in a school yard fight or helping a friend bandage an open wound. 

You will not get Hepatitis B from sneezing, coughing, shaking hands or using the same dishes. 

 What are the symptoms of hepatitis B?
Symptoms of a hepatitis B infection include tiredness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, and jaundice (yellowish skin and eyes). 
 How can I protect myself from getting hepatitis B?
  • Avoid contact with another person's blood and body fluids. 
  • Get vaccinated. The provincial government funds hepatitis B vaccination for students in Grades 7 to 12.   

Three properly spaced doses of hepatitis B vaccine are required to provide lifetime immunity.

Record the dates of your child’s hepatitis B vaccine doses on the consent form and indicate that you consent to your child receiving any additional doses due to improper spacing of the initial three. A nurse will assess the information you provide to determine if any additional doses are required.

If your child received Twinrix® (hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccine) for travel, please talk to your health care provider to confirm if your child received three properly spaced doses of the vaccine.  If your child received fewer than three doses, talk to your health care provider about completing the outstanding doses. 

 Who should not get the hepatitis B vaccine?
You should not get the hepatitis vaccine if you: 
  • Have a fever or anything more serious than a minor cold 
  • Have had a past allergic reaction to a vaccine or a bad reaction to thimerosal (methylmercury-a preservative in vaccines, also used in contact lens solution), aluminum or yeast. Check with your doctor before getting this vaccine. 

Human papillomavirus (HPV)

What is HPV?

HPV is a common virus that can affect both men and women. There are over 100 types of HPV and more than 40 types that affect the genital tract. 

In the absence of vaccination, it is estimated that more than 70 percent of sexually active Canadians will get HPV infection in their lifetime. 

In women, HPV has been linked to cancer of the cervix, vulva and vagina and in men, to cancer of the penis. In both women and men, it has been linked to cancer of the anus, mouth and throat. 

How is HPV spread?

The HPV virus is spread by skin-to-skin contact during sexual activity. It is not just sexual intercourse that can cause HPV infection. 

What are the symptoms of HPV?

Most people never get symptoms and may not know they have been infected with HPV. They still carry the virus and can infect others. 

When someone gets infected, they can develop genital warts, which are usually painless but may be itchy, uncomfortable and difficult to get rid of. This is often the only visible sign that someone has an HPV infection. 

How can I protect myself from getting HPV?

Get vaccinated. A vaccine called Gardasil 9® (HPV9) has been available since 2016. Gardasil is licensed for females aged 9 to 45 and males aged 9 to 26. The vaccine is almost 100 percent effective against the four most common strains of the HPV virus and provides protection against an additional five other cancer-causing strains. 

In Ontario, all students in Grade 7 are eligible for a publicly funded vaccine until the end of their Grade 12 year of high school.

Students who start their HPV series between 9-14 years of age need two doses of the vaccine to complete their series. Those starting their series after turning 15 need to complete a three-dose series.  

A female student who has completed a series of Cervarix® (HPV2) or Gardasil® (HPV4) is not eligible to receive the publicly funded Gardasil 9® (HPV9). There are currently no guidelines to provide additional doses of HPV vaccine for females. A male student who has completed a series of Cervarix® (HPV2) is still eligible to receive publicly funded Gardasil 9® (HPV9). 

Who should not get the HPV vaccine?

You should not get the HPV vaccine if you: 

  • Have already been fully immunized with Gardasil® 
  • Had a bad reaction to a previous dose of the HPV vaccine 
  • Are allergic to yeast, aluminum, sodium chloride, L-histidine, polysorbate 80, sodium borate 
  • Are pregnant 


The meningococcal vaccine is mandatory for school attendance in Waterloo Region under the Immunization of School Pupils Act. Children who have received meningococcal type C vaccine still require vaccination with meningococcal type ACYW-135 vaccine in Grade 7.

Learn more at School and Child Care Vaccinations.

What is meningococcal disease?

Meningococcal disease is a very serious infection caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis.

The bacteria can cause meningococcal disease in two forms: meningitis (inflammation of the membranes which cover the brain and spinal cord) and septicemia (infection of the blood and organs).

Meningococcal disease causes death in up to 15 percent of cases. Approximately 20 percent of survivors suffer some form of disability such as hearing loss, neurological damage or loss of a limb. 

How is meningococcal disease spread?

Meningococcal bacteria are carried in the nose and throat of up to 10 percent of healthy people without causing illness. 

The bacteria can be spread to others through direct contact with fluid from the nose or throat (saliva, sputum or nasal mucous) of an infected person. Sharing things like food and drinks, eating utensils and cups, lipstick, lip gloss or cigarettes and kissing are most likely to spread meningococcal bacteria. 

Although anyone can get infected with meningococcal disease, it is most common in children under five, adolescents, and young adults, especially those living in dormitories. 

In Canada, most outbreaks have occurred in high schools, universities and colleges. 

What are the symptoms of meningococcal disease?

Symptoms include sudden onset of fever, intense headache, nausea, vomiting, stiff neck, and occasionally a rash. 

How can I protect myself from getting meningococcal disease?
  • Avoid sharing items that have come in contact with another person's mouth.
  • Use good handwashing techniques and use your sleeve or elbow to cover coughs and sneezes.

Get vaccinated. The provincial government funds meningococcal A, C, Y, and W 135 vaccine to all students at no cost in Grades 7-12.  

  • The meningococcal vaccine children receive after age one only covers one strain of the disease (the C strain). Protection from that vaccine decreases over time and a booster dose is needed. The meningococcal vaccine provided at Grade 7 school clinics (Meningococcal conjugate ACYW-135: Menactra®, Menveo®, or Nimenrix®) protects against four strains of meningococcal disease, and it is recommended that youth and young adults receive at least one dose during the teenage years. 
  • The meningococcal ACYW vaccine given in Grade 7 will provide good protection for five to seven years. Another dose of the vaccine would boost immunity prior to entering college or university. There is also a vaccine to protect against the B strain of the disease called Bexsero. These vaccines are not publicly funded but some private insurance plans may cover them. Talk to your health care provider if you have any questions about the benefits of these vaccines. 
  • If your child received a meningococcal ACYW vaccine before age 11, it is recommended that you talk with your doctor about the best option for your child. Meningococcal conjugate-ACYW-135 can offer protection for approximately five years, so your child may still be protected from the dose given before age 11. Your child will remain eligible to receive one dose of the publicly funded vaccine from Grade 7 until the end of Grade 12. It is important to note that if your child received one dose of meningococcal ACYW vaccine after the age of nine months, they are considered up to date under the Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA). 
Who should not get the meningococcal A, C, Y and W135 vaccine?

You should not get the meningococcal vaccine if you: 

  • Have a fever or anything more serious than a minor cold (delay the vaccine until well). 
  • Have a known allergy to any part of the vaccine, diphtheria toxoid or latex (in the vial stopper). 
  • Have been immunized within the last six months with other vaccines for meningococcal disease. Contact Public Health to discuss. 
  • Are on high dose corticosteroids or immunosuppressive agents, or who have immunosuppressive illness should delay vaccination until condition/treatment has resolved wherever possible. Consult with your health care provider. 
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding. Consult with your health care provider. 

Vaccine consent

Grade 7 students will receive paper consent forms at the beginning of the school year. Parents must complete all sections, sign, and return these forms to provide vaccination consent. If you do not have a paper consent form, you can request another form through your child's school.

We encourage parents to discuss the vaccines and their thoughts on vaccination with their children before the clinic day so they are aware which vaccines you have provided consent for them to receive.

Who can give consent?

According to Ontario’s Health Care Consent Act there is no minimum age for giving consent. A person is capable of giving informed consent if they understand the information given about the vaccine and the consequences of the decision to be vaccinated or to not be vaccinated. The person must have had the chance to ask questions and have those questions answered. Consent must be given freely (voluntarily).

A student can choose to receive a vaccine or choose to refuse a vaccine. Parents may sign the consent form but the student may refuse the vaccine and it will not be given. In the absence of a parent-signed consent form, a student who is judged capable of giving informed consent and is requesting the vaccine, may consent and receive their vaccination.

See the full Health Care Consent Act here.

Missed vaccines

If your Grade 7 child misses their fall school clinic date, they can receive their vaccinations at the spring clinic for their school. See the school clinic dates to find out when that will be.

Students can complete their vaccine series at the school vaccine clinic while in Grade 8 if they received their first dose in Grade 7. If you signed a consent form or called in a verbal consent to Public Health in Grade 7, you will not need to sign a new consent form in Grade 8. A Public Health Nurse will contact you to reconfirm consent.

If your child did not receive vaccines in Grade 7 and is currently in Grade 8-12, they may receive them with their health care provider. If your child receives a vaccine through their health care provider, you must report it to Public Health. Learn more about vaccine reporting here.

Frequently asked questions

What are the side effects of these vaccines?

The risk of the hepatitis B, HPV, or meningococcal vaccine causing serious harm is minimal. All the components of the vaccines have been found to be very safe.

Common side effects are soreness and redness at the site of the injection, and a mild fever for 1-2 days.

Severe side effects such as high fever, trouble breathing, hives, and convulsions are extremely rare. If serious side effects occur, see your doctor right away or go directly to the hospital.

What will happen if my child has a reaction to the vaccine?

Severe reactions are rare and most occur within 15 minutes of getting the vaccine. The nurses will stay at the school for at least 15 minutes after the last vaccine is given.

Before leaving, the nurse provides the school with first aid instructions should a reaction occur.

Report any reactions that occur after a nurse has left to Public Health at 519-575-4400 ext. 5003. 

My child has an exemption on file. How can I be sure they won't receive the vaccine at a school clinic?

Exemptions cover vaccinations that fall under the Immunization of School Pupil’s Act. Within the Grade 7 program, only the meningococcal vaccine is included. If your child’s exemption on file includes meningococcal, check off ‘No’ on the consent form for this vaccine and return a signed copy to the school.

Hepatitis B and HPV do not fall under the Immunization of School Pupil’s Act. They are recommended, but not mandatory vaccines. If you do not want your child to receive either of these optional vaccines, check off ‘No’ on the consent form and return a signed copy to the school.

My child is on special medications for an underlying health condition. Is it safe for them to receive these vaccines?

Very few underlying health conditions would prevent a child from receiving vaccines. If your child has an underlying health condition, consult with your doctor and complete the Student Health History questions on the School Vaccine Consent form. A public health nurse from the school clinic may contact you if any clarification is needed. 

My child has a needle phobia. How can I ensure that my child receives their vaccines?

Needle anxiety is common. Our nurses have dealt with many anxious children and have developed several techniques to make the process as anxiety-free as possible, for example:

  • Distracting the student
  • Allowing the student to listen to music
  • Using ice or a local anesthetic like EMLA® or Ametop® to numb the injection site (this must be provided by the parent and applied by the student 30 minutes before the vaccination)

Tips for you:

  • Ensure you send your child to school well fed
  • Pack an extra drink or snack to avoid fainting

If your child knows they are prone to fainting, please have them notify the nurse prior to getting their needle.

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