FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, September 18, 2017 | 10:00 a.m. | Windsor and Essex County
On Thursday, September 28, 2017, students born in 2008-2011 with incomplete immunization records will be suspended from school for up to 20 days.
In an effort to keep our community safe and healthy from the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) has been reviewing the immunization records of all children registered with our school boards.
Students born in 2008, 2009, 2010, or 2011 with incomplete immunization records received immunization notices in April and June of this year. On September 1, 2017 approximately 2300 letters were sent out to parents and guardians informing them of the September 28, 2017 school suspension. The notices indicated which vaccine(s) were missing from the student’s record, how to get in touch with the Health Unit to provide updated information, and how to book an appointment for immunization.
Less than two weeks remain for parents or guardians to update student immunization records and avoid suspension from school. On Thursday, September 28, 2017, students born in 2008-2011 with incomplete immunization records will be suspended from school for up to 20 days. In order for a suspended child to return to school, the health unit will need to receive an updated immunization record in one of the following ways:
- The parent must bring the record to the Health Unit
- The physician or nurse practitioner may call or fax the record to the Health Unit.
If the student is suspended, information from parents or guardians will no longer be accepted by phone. Once vaccine information is provided to the Health Unit, the student’s immunization record will be updated and the student, parents or guardians, and the school principal will be informed that the suspension has been lifted and the child can return to school.
"It’s important for the Health Unit to have up-to-date immunization records for all students,” said Judy Allen, manager of the Healthy Schools program at the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit. “We will be providing extra nurses in the immunization clinic, to assist those who do not have a primary health care provider to get missing vaccines before the suspension date."
These actions have been put in place to meet the Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA), which became law in 1990. The law protects the health of children and the community by ensuring students are up-to-date with their immunizations in an effort to stop the spread of preventable diseases. There are nine immunizations required for school aged children:
- Meningococcal Disease
- Varicella (chickenpox) *proof of this vaccine is required for children born in 2010 or later.
It is important to know that it is the parent or guardian’s responsibility to keep immunization records up-to-date with the Health Unit. Health care providers are not required to forward this information to the Health Unit. An additional option is to complete and return a signed, original exemption form (a medical exemption, or a statement of conscientious or religious belief) to the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.
New as of September 1, 2017, parents and guardians requesting a non-medical exemption will be required to complete an educational session provided by the Health Unit. This is a new requirement under the ISPA. This change will support parents in making an informed decision if they choose to not vaccinate their children for non-medical reasons.
There are four easy ways to update your child’s immunization record before September 28, 2017:
- Call the Healthy Schools Department at the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit at 519-258-2146 or 1-800-265-5822 and select extension 1222.
- Fax the immunization record to the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit to 519-258-7288.
- Enter the information online to the secure reporting system at immune.wechu.org.
- Bring the updated immunization record to the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit in person to one of the following office locations between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday:
- Windsor Office: 1005 Ouellette Ave. Windsor, Ontario N9A 4J8
- Essex Office: 360 Fairview Ave. West, Suite 215 Essex, Ontario N8M 3G4
- Leamington Office: 33 Princess Street, Leamington, Ontario N8H 5C5
Windsor-Essex County Health Unit
519-258-2146 ext. 6397 (news)