School and Child Care Vaccinations

Vaccination protects children from many serious diseases that are easily spread in schools and child care settings. Each vaccine is given at a specific age, and some require multiple doses. View the complete vaccine schedule for more information.

On this page:


Required vaccines

The Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA) requires all elementary and secondary school students to have proof of immunization against:

  • Diphtheria
  • Tetanus
  • Polio
  • Measles
  • Mumps
  • Rubella
  • Meningococcal Disease
  • Pertussis (whooping cough)
  • Varicella (chickenpox)
    • Required for children born in 2010 or later
Public Health also recommends the following vaccines, that can be received during Grade 7 school clinics:
  • Hepatitis B
  • HPV

View the complete vaccine schedule for more information.


Vaccination records and reporting

The Immunization of School Pupils Act requires Public Health to maintain vaccination records for all private, public and Catholic school students in Waterloo Region. 

Parents/guardians must report their child's vaccine records or valid exemptions to Public Health before their child starts school. See vaccine reporting for kindergarten for details. 

Every time your child gets a vaccine from their health care provider, you need to notify Public Health. Your health care provider does not report these records for you.

Report, view or request immunization records


Vaccine exemptions

Children who are not vaccinated are at increased risk of getting infections and spreading diseases to others. If your child has a vaccine exemption, and a vaccine preventable disease appears in your child’s school or daycare, your child may have to stay out of school, daycare, playgroups or sports until the disease is no longer present. You will be informed when it is safe for your child to return. Be prepared to keep your child home for several days, or up to several weeks depending on the disease.

Kindergarten to Grade 12 students
Under the Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA), a child attending school (Kindergarten-Grade 12) must either have proof of vaccination, or have a valid medical or non-medical exemption. A parent/guardian who wishes to submit an exemption must complete an appropriate exemption form and submit it to Public Health.

Medical exemption

A medical exemption can be submitted if a child has a medical condition that prevents them from receiving a vaccine or there is evidence of immunity to the disease making further immunization unnecessary.

Submit your vaccine exemption

Non-medical exemption

The Ontario Ministry of Health requires all parents/guardians of students wishing to obtain a non-medical exemption to watch a vaccine education video online and complete a Statement of Conscience or Religious Belief form.

  • Complete the mandatory Immunization Education Session
  • Once the education session is complete you will receive communication from Public Health with a Statement of Conscience or Religious Belief form that will need to be completed and taken to a Commissioner for taking affidavits to have it notarized.
    • Note: Photo ID with a signature is needed (e.g., driver’s license, picture health card). Some offices require an appointment and some may charge a fee.
    • Once this form is complete and notarized you will be able to submit it online with a webform link provided by Public Health.
Please contact Public Health at 519-575-4400 ext. 5001 if you have questions about this process or are unable to complete the education session online. 


Licensed child care centres

The Child Care and Early Years Act requires children attending child care to have proof of vaccination or a valid medical or non-medical exemption. A parent/guardian who wishes to submit an exemption must complete the appropriate exemption form and submit it to Public Health.

Ministry of Education exemption forms

Medical:

Non-medical: 

Submit your vaccine exemption

Please contact Public Health at 519-575-4400 ext. 5001 if you have questions about this process or are unable to complete the education session online. 

Note: The Ministry of Education, Child Care and Early Years Act exemption form will expire once a child enrolls in school and a new Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care exemption form under the Immunization of School Pupils Act will be required.


Grade 7 school clinics

Public Health provides the hepatitis B, human papillomavirus (HPV) and meningococcal vaccines at no cost to Grade 7 students through the school-based vaccination program.

Learn more about the Grade 7 school clinics 2024/2025 School Vaccination Schedule


Frequently Asked Questions

Why did I receive a letter from Public Health about my child's vaccine record?

Under the Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA) and the Child Care and Early Years Act, a child attending school or licensed child care must have proof of vaccination or a valid medical or non-medical exemption. Parents are required to report their child's vaccination information to Public Health on an ongoing basis. 

Why did my child receive a suspension letter from Public Health?

There are several common reasons for receiving a suspension letter:

  • Your child’s vaccine information has not been reported to Public Health. Parents/guardians are responsible for updating Region of Waterloo Public Health every time their child receives a required vaccine.
  • The vaccination information you provided was after suspension orders were automatically generated.  Information submitted online can take up to five business days for the information to be processed.
  • If your child is not being vaccinated for medical or non-medical reasons, you are required to submit a valid exemption. Learn more at Vaccine Exemptions.
Where can I have my child vaccinated?

If your child has received an Immunization Notice and has not received the missing vaccines listed, you may book an appointment at a Public Health clinic. 

Book your vaccine appointment here

You child can receive their vaccines at:

  • Your family doctor or health care provider
  • Walk-in clinic

Is it safe to receive multiple vaccinations at the same time?

Yes. The immune system can safely and effectively handle more than one immunization at a time. Most common side effects are mild (such as low grade fever and tenderness on the injection site) and will last for only a day or two.

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