School Immunization Q&A

The Health Unit strongly recommends getting immunized according to the Publicly Funded Immunization Schedule for Ontario.

Why is the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) asking me for my child’s updated immunization record?

  • WECHU and local school boards are jointly committed to keeping our children and the community safe and healthy. We know that as a parent, keeping your children safe and healthy is your number one priority too.
  • Getting your child vaccinated protects them from many serious diseases that are easily spread in schools.
  • The Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA) R.S.O. 1990 is a law in Ontario that helps to protect the health of children and our community. It gives directions for making sure that all school aged students are protected from vaccine preventable diseases.
  • The ISPA requires that all health units in Ontario keep vaccine records of all students attending school.
  • It’s up to parents and guardians to provide vaccine records to their local public health unit. Health care providers aren’t required to do this.
  • The WECHU is working to have up-to-date records for all elementary and high school students.
  • WECHU staff are currently reviewing the records of all students and are working to have up-to-date records for all elementary and high school students.​
  • WECHU is taking a phased-in approach. In early 2016 we sent home notices for children born in 2008 who have missing or incomplete records.
  • Children born in 2008 without up-to-date vaccine records or without a valid reason on file (e.g., official exemption paperwork, keep reading for more about this), may be suspended from school up to 20 school days starting September 26, 2016.
  • Advanced suspension notices were sent out September 1, 2016 for these students to give parents lots of time to submit updated proof of immunization.
  • If an outbreak occurs in your child’s school, children may be suspended who are missing information or have incomplete records with WECHU.

What should parents do?

  1. Look at your child’s yellow immunization card. If you aren’t sure if your child is up-to-date on all their vaccines, check with your health care provider or the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.
  2. Any time that your child gets a vaccine or booster shot you should update their record with the WECHU through any of the following ways:
Methods of contacting WECHU for immunization records
Phone

519-258-2146 ext. 1222 or

toll-free at 1-800-265-5822 ext. 1222

Secure Online Reporting System

Online Reporting System

Fax

519-258-7288

In Person

Windsor Office: 1005 Ouellette Ave.

Essex Office: 365 Fairview Ave. Essex

Leamington Office: 33 Princess Street
Leamington

What information do I need to provide to the Health Unit to update them about my child’s immunization history or to request a copy of their immunization record?

Please provide the following:

  • child’s first and last name
  • child’s date of birth
  • child’s school
  • your contact information (e.g., telephone number)

What does the Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA) say?

  • The act says that parents and guardians need to make sure that their school aged children are vaccinated according to the Ontario Immunization Schedule.
  • The act says that when a vaccine is given to a child by a doctor or nurse, a record must be given to the parent or guardian.
  • The act says that health units in Ontario have to maintain the vaccine records for all students attending school in their area. It says that health units have to review these records to make sure all school aged children are properly vaccinated.
  • The act also gives a health unit’s Medical Officer of Health the ability to suspend students for up to 20 school days under specific situations:
  • If health unit records show that a student’s up-to-date immunizations are not complete.
  • Or if an official exemption (e.g., for medical, religious, or ethical reasons) is not on file.
  • The act says that schools need to work with their local health unit to apply suspensions.

Visit the Government of Ontario’s website for a copy of the ISPA.

Is there a cost to get my child immunized for school?

No, there’s no cost for vaccines covered by the publicly funded immunization program in Ontario.

Where can I go to get my child immunized?

Ask your primary health care provider (e.g., doctor or nurse practitioner). In addition, the Health Unit runs immunization clinics by appointment. Some walk-in clinics provide vaccines. A few vaccines are also provided by public health nurses in your child’s school.

Why should I immunize my child?

Vaccines help children stay healthy. In many parts of the world, vaccine-preventable diseases are still common and can be brought home by travellers. Getting a vaccine may involve some short-term pain, redness, or tenderness in the muscle, but this is minimal compared to the possible suffering and serious health problems of the diseases these vaccines prevent.

Can my child be exempt from receiving a required immunization?

Vaccines are shown to be safe and effective for lowering the risk of getting sick from a variety of diseases. Everyone in Ontario is encouraged to get all the required and recommended vaccines. Some students may be eligible for exemptions (e.g., due to medical reason such as an allergy). To learn more, contact your health care provider or see our Immunization Record page for more details.

Publicly Funded Immunization Schedules for Ontario Students

The following table shows when children and teens should receive the required and recommended vaccines. But it’s never too late to get your child caught up! Please Note: Many of the vaccines are combined into one shot.
  2 months 4 months 6 months 12 months 15 months 18 months 4-6 years 12 years (Gr. 7) 13 years (Gr. 8 girls) 14-16 years

Diphtheria

* * *     * *     *

Tetanus

* * *     * *     *

Pertussis

* * *     * *     *

Polio (IPV)

* * *     * *      

Hib

* * *     *        

Pneumo-conjugate-13

HR

HR   HR            

Rotavirus

HR HR                

Measles

      *     *      

Mumps

      *     *      

Rubella

      *     *      

Men-conjugate-C

      *            

Men-conjugate-ACYW

              *    

Varicella

        *   *      

Hepatitis B

              HR    

Human Papillomavirus

                HR  

Influenza (Flu)

    Highly recommended every year in the fall.

* = Required to attend school

HR = Highly Recommended

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