A Healthy Start to the School Year
The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) is required under the Immunization of School Pupil's Act (ISPA) to collect and maintain up-to-date records of immunization for every student registered in school in Simcoe County and Muskoka District. The law states that parents are required to provide the health unit with proof of completed immunization for the following diseases:
- Meningococcal (meningitis – added in 2014)
- Pertussis (whooping cough – added in 2014)
- Varicella (chickenpox – added in 2014 for those born in 2010 or later)
You will be asked to provide an immunization history when registering your child at a school.
Please note that each time your child receives an immunization from your health care provider, you need to contact the health unit to provide us with this information so that your child’s immunization record can be updated in our database.
Share your child's immunization record with the health unit by secure on-line form, fax, mail or phone.
School Based Programs
Secondary School Surveillance Program
The health unit will assess records of high school students to ensure a complete immunization record exists for each student that meets ISPA requirements. During a surveillance period, the health unit assesses the need for catch up clinics. Typically, these will occur at local health unit offices. 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.
What is the surveillance process for the 2015/2016 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, Grade 3, and secondary school.
Students with incomplete immunization records will receive a questionnaire from the health unit, addressed to either the parent(s) or to the student (if 16 years of age or older), 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. First, contact the HCP to get any missing immunizations and to obtain a record, then share this information with the health unit. You can contact SMDHU to:
- Share a student(s) record(s).
- Update a 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, 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 a school community should complete an Immunization History Form (also available in French) for each student and return the completed forms to the school office. Completed forms are forwarded by the school to the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit regularly throughout the school year.
What if I choose not to immunize my child?
Parents who choose not to vaccinate a child because of a medical reason, or a religious or conscientious belief, must provide the appropriate, original, signed document to the health unit. Both forms are available by calling the SMDHU.
Points to consider:
- Medical exemptions - completed by a physician or nurse practitioner who is aware of the health history of the child
- 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 increased risk for contracting diseases 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. Please review this handout that outlines the additional risks and responsibilities.
- Call 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 ext. 8807 for further information.
Page Last Modified: Monday, 25 January 2016.
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