Stacy Manzerolle, Manager, Healthy Schools
Immunization Coverage Report: 2017/2018 School Year
On May 7, 2019 Public Health Ontario (PHO) released the Immunization Coverage Report for School Pupils in Ontario. This report outlines the latest estimates for immunization coverage and Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA) exemptions at the Health Unit level. The report includes comparisons to provincial and national goals.
Immunization coverage refers to the proportion of a population that is appropriately immunized against a vaccine-preventable disease (VPD) at a point in time. Immunization coverage varies by vaccine, age, and health unit. Establishing a high immunization coverage rate in the community is essential for the effective prevention and control of VPDs. Measuring immunization coverage rates allows public health organizations to monitor trends in vaccine uptake over time and identify areas in the province at risk of VPD outbreaks.
In PHO’s report, immunization records for approximately 500,000 students were assessed for a number of vaccines at ages 7, 12 and 17 years. For most vaccines, provincial-level coverage estimates do not meet Canada’s national coverage goals. However, some health units have local coverage estimates that surpass the national goal.
The attached report is a brief summary of the key findings relevant to Windsor and Essex County (WEC) with provincial and national comparisons for the 2017/2018 school year.
Key Findings for Windsor-Essex County: Provincial Comparison
ISPA Designated Diseases:
Immunization coverage rates in 7 year olds in WEC for ISPA-designated diseases including measles, mumps, pertussis, polio, rubella, tetanus, diphtheria, meningococcal diseases, and varicella were similar to or higher than Ontario.
Non-ISPA Designated Diseases:
Coverage rates in 7 year olds in WEC for all except one non-ISPA designated disease were similar to or higher than Ontario. Non-ISPA designated diseases that were assessed include: pneumococcal disease, haemophilus influenza type b, human papilloma virus, and hepatitis B. Coverage for Haemophilus influenza type b was 2.4% lower in WEC than Ontario (80.0% in WEC and 82.4% in Ontario).
Key Findings for Windsor-Essex County: National Comparison
Coverage estimates in 7-year olds met the national goal of 95% for two diseases (meningococcal disease and rubella). For the 12-year-old cohort, the coverage estimates for diseases covered by the school-based immunization program did not meet the national goal of 90%. Coverage estimates in 17-year olds met the national goal of 95% for measles and mumps, as well as the national goal of 90% for rubella and tetanus.
Exemptions for at least one ISPA antigen
The proportion of students with medical and non-medical exemptions was relatively low. Only 0.3% of 7-year olds and 0.2% of 17-year olds had a medical exemption for at least one ISPA antigen. These proportions were similar to that of Ontario.
The proportion of students with a non-medical exemption was slightly higher. 3.4% of 7-year olds and 2.6% of 17-year olds had a non-medical exemption for at least one ISPA antigen. The proportion of 7-year olds with a non-medical exemption was slightly higher than Ontario (0.6% higher).
The following individuals contributed to this report:
Stacy Manzerolle, Manager, Healthy Schools Department
Mathew Roy, Epidemiologist, Epidemiology & Evaluation Department