The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) is reminding secondary school students to update their immunization record on file with the health unit by September 26, 2023, to comply with the Immunization of School Pupils Act and avoid suspension from school.
In Ontario, vaccination against tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, varicella (for those born in 2010 and after), and meningococcal disease are required under the act, unless there is a valid exemption. Hepatitis B and HPV vaccines are strongly recommended.
“We know that many secondary school students were unable to receive their routine and required immunizations during the pandemic,” says Dr. Colin Lee, associate medical officer of health at SMDHU. “That’s why the health unit has spent the last year working with families to update their student’s vaccinations and has offered catch-up vaccination clinics to give students the opportunity to get immunized if they are behind.”
The health unit has mailed out over 4,500 suspension orders to secondary school students in Simcoe Muskoka whose immunization record on file with the health unit is not up to date. This is the third notice that most of these students have received from the health unit.
The suspension order notifies students and parents that immunization records must be updated with the health unit by Sept. 26, 2023, or they will be suspended from school for up to 20 days. Once the missing immunization information is provided to the health unit, the student is removed from the suspension list and can return to school. The health unit is committed to working with families and our school partners to ensure that students’ records get updated and avoid suspension from school.
If students received their routine and required immunization through their healthcare provider, they need to report this information to the health unit. This can easily be done online at smdhu.org or by calling the health unit’s Health Connection line.
Families who do not have a healthcare provider can book an immunization appointment at any of the health unit’s offices in Collingwood, Cookstown, Gravenhurst, Huntsville, Midland and Orillia, or at the at 29 Sperling Dr. clinic in Barrie.
For more information about routine and required vaccines for students and the diseases they prevent, please visit smdhu.org. To speak with a public health professional, call Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
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