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Immunization

The Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA)

In Ontario, under ISPA Health Units are required to collect and maintain up-to-date immunization records for all students.

Requirements by age cohort are as follows:

For Students in JK/SK:

  • Complete primary series of Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis and Polio (given at 2, 4, 6 and 18 months of age).
  • 1 dose required on or after the 1st birthday:
    • Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccine (MMR)
    • Meningococcal vaccine (Men-C-C or Men-C-ACYW).
  • 1 dose of chickenpox vaccine (Varicella - given at 15 months). This vaccine is only required for those born in 2010 onward.

For Students in Grades 1 - 8:

  • Completed by their seventh birthday: 
    • 4-6 year booster for tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, and polio (Tdap-IPV) vaccine.
    • 4-6 year booster for measles, mumps, rubella (and varicella for those born in 2010 onward) (MMR or MMRV vaccine).
  • 1 booster dose of meningococcal (Men-C-ACYW) vaccine by the end of Grade 7, available at school in Grade 7 through the SMDHU school program.

For Students in Grades 9 - 12:

  • 14 to 16 year old booster for tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (Tdap) vaccine.
  • If they did not receive 1 booster dose of meningococcal (Men-C-ACYW) vaccine in Grade 7, then they are required according ISPA to have one booster dose.

Parents are required to provide the health unit with proof of completed immunization for each student.

What is the surveillance process for the 2019/2020 school year?

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) has begun to review student immunization records for all students throughout Simcoe and Muskoka who are entering JK, Grade 2, Grade 8 and secondary school in 2018.

New: Immunization Surveillance and Suspension, Frequently Asked Questions and Answers for School Principals.

Students with incomplete immunization records, will receive a notice from the health unit, advising them that their immunization record on file with the health unit is not up to date.

Many students will likely have received immunization from their health care provider (HCP) already, but have not informed the health unit. Ask them to contact their HCP to get any missing immunizations and to obtain a record to share with the health unit. You can advise parents to contact SMDHU to:

  • Share their student(s) record(s).
  • Update their student(s)'s immunization information online here.
  • Book an appointment at one of our local catch up clinics.
  • Obtain the appropriate documentation to be exempt from vaccination (see section below, "if parents choose not to immunize their student").

Call 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 and indicate the name of your school, if you have any further questions or concerns about this year's process.

What does the school require for new registrants or transfer students?

Families new to your school community should complete an Immunization History Form (also available in French) for each student at your school. Collect the completed forms and forward them to the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit regularly throughout the school year. What immunization clinics will be held at elementary schools?

Will immunization clinics be held in secondary schools?

Each year, the health unit assesses the need to hold on-site immunization clinics. If an on-site clinic will occur, the school administration staff will be contacted by an Immunization nurse to discuss clinic dates and information related to the clinic. Parents and students (16 years of age and older) can book appointments through their doctor, or through the health unit, for any missing ISPA vaccinations.

What should I tell a parent who chooses not to immunize their student?

Parents who choose not to vaccinate their student because of a medical reason, religious or conscientious belief, must provide the appropriate, original, signed document to the health unit. Both forms are available by calling the SMDHU.

  • Medical exemptions - completed by a physician or nurse practitioner who is aware of the health history of the student.
  • Affidavits for religious or conscientious belief - parents must attend an in person education session at the health unit and complete an affidavit which must be signed by a notary public. Have parents call the health unit to book their education session.
  • Students with medical exemptions or affidavits on file will be removed from school during a disease outbreak.
  • Unvaccinated students are at risk for disease and place other students at risk who are unable to be immunized due to medical concerns.
  • Parents have responsibilities if their students are not vaccinated. You can provide them with this handout that outlines their responsibilities.
  • Call 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 for further information.
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