• Mario Carr

Protect your kids & have them vaccinated for school

Dr. David Williams, Ontario's acting chief medical officer of health, is reminding parents to make sure their children's vaccinations are up-to-date before they return to school this September.

“Immunization protects children from many serious diseases that are easily spread in schools,” he points out. “These diseases can lead to serious health consequences especially for children, the elderly and for people with weakened immune systems.”

In Ontario, all children attending school need to be immunized according to the publicly-funded immunization schedule.

Under the Immunization of School Pupils Act, parents are required to provide records of their child's immunization to their local public health unit, and to update the information when they receive additional doses of vaccine according to the immunization schedule. Children and teens who aren't immunized may not be allowed to attend school.

“Most vaccines need more than one dose over time to ensure the best protection possible. That's why it's important to follow the immunization schedule,” says Dr. Williams.

Children and teens attending primary or secondary school in Ontario must have proof of immunization against the following diseases:

• diphtheria

• tetanus

• polio

• measles

• mumps

• rubella

• meningococcal disease

• pertussis (whooping cough)

• varicella (chickenpox) – for children born in 2010 or later

Children attending licensed daycares in the province are also required to be immunized according to their age and as recommended in Ontario's publicly funded immunization schedule. Parents should make sure their children's vaccinations are up-to-date before enrolling in daycare, and update the day care when new shots are received.

“The threat posed by vaccine preventable diseases is still with us, as we have seen in recent outbreaks of measles, mumps and pertussis,” says Dr. Williams. “Getting vaccinated will protect your kids and other children around them.”

Additional information about immunization requirements for school attendance and vaccines in general is available online at Ontario.ca/vaccines. Or contact your local public health unit by searching the nearest location at Ontario.ca/healthcareoptions.

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