Students face suspension if not immunized
Boxes of single-doses vials of the measles-mumps-rubella virus vaccine live, or MMR vaccine and ProQuad vaccine are kept frozen inside a freezer at the practice of Dr. Charles Goodman in Northridge, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. (AP / Damian Dovarganes)
Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health is making sure grade 12 students have their vaccines up to date.
They recently sent a letter home to approximately 2,300 17-year-olds that required students to be fully vaccinated. The students also have to complete an immunization record to be on file with the health unit.
If the teens don’t comply, they face suspension from school.
Since the letter was received, the number of students still needing to update their records and vaccines has dropped to about 900 students.
“We don’t want to suspend any student,” said Dr. Nicola Mercer, Medical Officer of Health for public health.
In order to provide as much opportunity as possible for the teens to get their vaccines, the Public Health is offering clinics over the March break at health offices across Wellington, Dufferin and Guelph
“We are making every effort possible to ensure that all of the records provided to us are in, we are complete and up to date with our record keeping. We have also been working with physicians to ensure if they submit all of their records if they immunize a student.”
She adds that if there are reasons for students not to get vaccinated, such as medical conditions, there is the opportunity to get exemption letters before a suspension is handed out.
If a student had immunizations in another province or country, but doesn’t have record of them, it is possible for Public Health to track them down.
“In the event that there is absolutely no immunization records and we believe that the student has been immunized, then on a case by case basis we will determine what immunization the child needs,” said Mercer.
She said that in the case that there is a possibility of an immunization already having been given, but the person is unsure; there is no harm in getting another. The vaccine will essentially just act as a booster shot.
Public Health is mandated by province to maintain every student’s immunization record. Students not in grade 12 who’s records are incomplete, will be getting a letter over the next year.
Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health has provided a website for more information on the vaccination clinics.