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Meeting Document Type: 
Information Report
School Based Immunization Clinics 2019/2020 School Year

Prepared By:

S. Manzerolle

Date:

November 21, 2019

Subject:

School Based Immunization Clinics 2019/2020 School Year

Background

Ontario’s school-based immunization program for students delivered by the WECHU includes immunization of eligible Grade 7 students against three diseases: Hepatitis B (HBV), Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), and Meningococcal Disease (Men-C- A,C,Y,W-135 vaccine). Hepatitis B vaccine protects against a virus that can permanently damage one’s liver and is a leading cause of liver cancer. Meningococcal vaccine (specifically Menactra) protects against a bacteria which causes inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord and/or an infection of the blood. HPV vaccine protects against many types of cancers including cervical and other genital cancers, as well as genital warts.

Participation in the school-based vaccination program is voluntary, however students must have proof of immunization against Meningococcal disease (specifically with the Menactra vaccine) in accordance with the Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA) in order to attend school.

According to the Public Health Ontario Immunization Coverage Report for School Pupils in Ontario, for the 2017-18 school years, Ontario falls short in the uptake of these vaccines in meeting the national goal. In comparison to the province, however, the WECHU surpassed the Ontario average among 12 year olds for immunization with HBV, HPV, and Menactra vaccines. For the 2017-2018 school year (grade 7 students), the immunization coverage rates for the school based vaccines are as follows:  HBV - 71.9%, HPV - 60.9%, and Menactra - 82.9%

Current Initiatives

The WECHU implements the school-based immunization program across 130 elementary schools in Windsor and Essex County.  This includes students from four school boards as well as private and agency schools. The WECHU offers immunization in schools in two rounds: Fall (Sept-Dec) and Spring (April-June). Typically the first dose in a series of HPV and HBV vaccines are given during the first round, with the second dose, along with the single dose of Menactra, offered during the second round.

Due to the labour disruption at the WECHU in the spring, both the first and second round of the school-based immunization program for the 2019/2020 school year is currently in progress, targeting both the Grade 7 and Grade 8 cohorts.  The WECHU also provides catch-up and in-house immunization clinics outside of the school setting for eligible students for the HPV, HBV and Menactra vaccines; upcoming catch-up clinics will take place in November and December.

The WECHU is currently entering the final year of a five-year plan to improve immunization coverage rates and compliance with the ISPA.  The five-year plan has included an expanding number of student cohorts who are identified and targeted for record review annually.  Parents of students with out of date records receive a series of communications requesting updated immunization information. Families are provided with a deadline, before which they are required to update their immunization record, otherwise they face suspension from school for up to twenty days. The next school suspension, which will include all elementary school students (JK-8) will occur in March 2020.  The initial notices to families will be distributed during the week of November 11, 2019.

Approved By:

Theresa Marentette