Frequently Asked Questions About Immunization
Are the Hepatitis B, Meningococcal ACYW-135, HPV/Gardasil vaccines required to attend school?
Meningococcal ACYW-135 vaccine is now required to attend school according to ISPA (Immunization of Schools Pupils Act) regulations in Ontario. Hepatitis B and HPV/Gardasil vaccine is not required to attend school. However, the Health Unit does highly recommend these vaccines.
What if I cannot receive the vaccinations on the day of the school clinic?
If you cannot attend the immunization clinic that has been scheduled at the school, you can receive the vaccine at the following locations:
- If you miss vaccines in the fall clinic, you can wait until the next time the Public Health Nurses are back in the schools in the spring or call the WECHU for an appointment at one of our in house clinics.
- If you get your first Hepatitis B or HPV/Gardasil vaccine in the spring, you will receive your second dose the following school year in the fall (in grade 8). Once your consent is received by the Health Unit, it is valid until all doses are completed.
- Call the WECHU for an appointment at one of our in house clinics at 519 258-2146 ext 1222.
Can a Grade 7 Student consent for the vaccine on their own?
Parents are encouraged to discuss the information about the vaccines with their son/daughter. Parents sign the consent form. In most cases an adolescent can consent to the vaccine on their own if they are assessed as having an understanding of the benefits and risks of vaccination.
Where is the needle given?
The Hepatitis B, Meningococcal ACYW-135, and HPV/Gardasil vaccines are generally given in the deltoid muscle of the upper arm. Please wear a short sleeved shirt on the day of the clinic.
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.
Can a student go to their doctor or nurse practitioner to receive the Hepatitis B, Meningococcal ACYW-135 or HPV/Gardasil vaccines?
The Hepatitis B and HPV/Gardasil vaccines are available at your health care provider’s office but not for free. The publicly funded (free) meningococcal ACYW-135 is not available at your doctor’s office.
Should I get the Meningococcal ACYW-135 vaccine if I was vaccinated with meningococcal vaccine as a baby?
Yes. This dose will act as a booster dose, provide protection against 3 additional strains of meningitis and will be valid according to the ISPA guidelines in Ontario.
Who is eligible for HPV/Gardasil vaccine?
Gardasil is recommended for females and males between the ages of 9 and 26. At this time, it is only available at no cost for boys & girls in grade 7, girls in grade 8, and females in grades 9-12 who may have missed receiving the vaccine previously.
Why is the HPV/Gardasil vaccine now free for boys?
The vaccine has been approved for use in boys and is recommended for boys aged 9 to 26 years and men of any age who have sex with men. Boys will benefit from the vaccine by the prevention of genital warts and some cancers. Starting with the 2016/2017 school year boys in grade 7 will be offered the provincially funded vaccine. Older boys can choose to receive and pay for Gardasil vaccine at their health care provider’s office, or at the Health Unit Immunization clinic. Some insurance plans do cover the cost for boys and men.
If I received the twinrix vaccine (Hepatitis A and B) do I still need to receive Hepatitis B at school?
No. If you have received a complete and properly spaced twinrix series you don’t need further Hepatitis B vaccine. If you did not complete the twinrix vaccine series you may need to complete it with your family physician. We can also give a Hepatitis B vaccine if only one Hepatitis A/B vaccine has been given to provide protection against Hepatitis B.
All about vaccines.
How do vaccines work?
Vaccines work by triggering a natural response in your body to make antibodies, which fight off disease. The antibodies train your immune system, so if you're ever exposed to the disease for real, your body then knows how to fight off the germ so you don’t get sick with the disease.
When vaccines are given on time with the right number of doses, this protection can last a long time.
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.
Are vaccines safe?
- Vaccines are the safest and most efficient way to guard against some diseases. The best protection comes from getting your vaccine according to the Ontario schedule.
- Vaccines undergo years of research before they’re available to the public, and are continuously monitored for safety and effectiveness.
- Vaccine side effects are generally mild (e.g. sore arm, redness, or swelling at the injection site, mild fever). This means your immune system is working.
- Serious reactions are very rare.
- Multiple injections at one time are safe and do not overwhelm your immune system.
- Scientific evidence shows that vaccines do not cause autism, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) or other illnesses.
- The ingredients in vaccines are safe. Some ingredients help boost the immune response and some keep the vaccine stable and effective.
Where can I find more information on vaccines?
- Canadian Coalition for Immunization Awareness and Promotion
- Canadian Paediatric Society
- Public Health Agency of Canada - National Advisory Committee on immunization
- Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care
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 to update your required immunization for school by appointment. Some walk-in clinics provide vaccines.
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.