KAWARTHA LAKES- The Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge (HKPR) District Health Unit says school suspension notices will be going out in late January to students who are missing vaccines.
Starting next week,the HKPR says it will be sending notices to approximately 2,500 students in Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes whose vaccination records are not up-to-date. Families who receive these notices are encouraged to immediately contact the Health Unit to update their child’s vaccination records. They can also log in to the new Immunization Connection Ontario (ICON) website (http://hkpr.icon.ehealthontario.ca) to track, manage and update records online.
In Ontario, the Immunization of School Pupils Act requires all students attending school to be fully immunized against diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, pertussis (whooping cough), varicella (chickenpox) and meningococcal disease. If any of these vaccines are missing, students can be suspended from school.
According to the Health Unit, in many cases students have all required vaccines, but their records just need updating with the Health Unit. If records are not updated, or a valid exemption is not provided, students could be suspended from school later this spring. Students may be exempted from vaccination for medical reasons and issues of conscience or religious belief.
“We encourage families who receive a Health Unit notice to review their child’s vaccination record and get it updated with us as soon as possible,” says Marianne Rock, Manager of Communicable Disease Prevention and Control with the HKPR District Health Unit. “The last thing the Health Unit wants to do is suspend students, but we are legally required to ensure students attending school are fully immunized against certain vaccine-preventable diseases. Vaccines are free, safe and effective and protect young people against serious illness.”
Local families who receive a Health Unit notice about their child are encouraged to follow these three steps:
Check that your child’s vaccination record is up-to-date. For a list of required vaccines to attend school, visit www.ontario.ca/vaccines or contact the Health Unit.
Missing a vaccine? Get your child immunized. See your health care provider or contact the Health Unit to get any missing vaccine.
Update your child’s vaccination record. Call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 1507, or visit www.hkpr.on.ca. The new Immunization Connection Ontario (ICON) site (http://hkpr.icon.ehealthontario.ca) also allows families to track, manage, and – most importantly – update records online.
“No more need for paper vaccination records, as ICON is a secure, online tool that parents and guardians can access anytime and anywhere on any device,” Rock notes. “ICON is well worth checking out to manage your child’s vaccination records.”