The Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA) was amended in 2014 to include the requirement of immunization for the following three diseases: pertussis, meningococcal, and varicella. New requirements by age cohort are as follows:
For Students in JK/SK:
- 1 dose of meningococcal vaccine (Men-C-C or Men-C-ACYW).*
- 2 doses of chickenpox vaccine (Varicella).
For Students in Grades 1 - 8:
- Completed by their seventh birthday:
- 4-6 year booster for tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, and polio (Tdap-IPV) vaccine.
- 1 dose of meningococcal (Men-C-C).*
- 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.
*1 dose meningococcal must be given on or after their first birthday.
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 2016/2017 school year?
In Ontario, under the Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA), health units are required to have up to date immunization records for all students. The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) has begun to review student immunization records for all students throughout Simcoe and Muskoka who are currently in Grade 2, and secondary school.
Students with incomplete immunization records, will receive a questionnaire from the health unit, advising them that their immunization record on file with the health unit is not current.
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 ext. 8807 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 a VPD 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 - completed by parent and notarized by a notary public.
- 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 ext. 8807 for further information.