School Immunizations and Suspension

Immunizations (vaccines) are the best way to protect yourself and your family against vaccine preventable diseases. These diseases can make you very ill and can be life threatening.

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) strongly recommends getting immunized according to the Publicly Funded Immunization Schedule for Ontario.

WECHU continues to review immunization records of all students attending elementary and high schools in Windsor and Essex County to ensure that all records are up-to-date.

Under the Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA), students attending school in Ontario are required to be immunized against nine diseases or have a valid exemption on file. The WECHU is taking a phased-in approach and is working to have complete records for all elementary and high school students. Students with incomplete immunization records are at risk of suspension.

Before suspending a student, the health unit will notify the parent or student by sending a notice(s) through the school requesting updated information. If students are not in compliance by the date identified in the notice, they will be suspended from school.

NOTE: It’s up to students, parents and guardians to provide immunization records to their local public health unit. Health care providers aren’t required to do this.

If an outbreak occurs in your child’s school, students may be suspended who are not up to date with required vaccinations or have incomplete records with WECHU.

Have you received a letter about immunization records?

If you receive a notice from the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, your cooperation and support to respond quickly is much appreciated. Your efforts will not only help protect your child but will help ensure all our children are better protected against vaccine preventable diseases.

Suspension Process

  • Once a student is suspended, records can only be updated by either having the health care provider call or fax proof of immunization to the health unit OR by families bringing the proof of immunization in person to the health unit to one of the following locations between the hours of 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday:
    • Windsor: 1005 Ouellette Ave. Windsor, Ontario N9A 4J8
    • Essex: 360 Fairview Ave. West, Suite 215 Essex, Ontario N8M 3G4
    • Leamington: 33 Princess Street, Leamington, Ontario N8H 5C5
  • For students who are suspended, if they wish to return to school the same day they update their record with the health unit, they will need to visit the health unit in person to obtain a rescind letter and present it to their school principal.  Otherwise they may wait until the following school day at which time they will no longer be on the suspension list.  The health unit staff will endeavour to process student information as soon as possible, but it may take until the end of the current school day.
  • Updated suspension lists will be faxed to school principals each morning before 8:00 a.m.
  • The health unit will continue to provide immunization clinics to assist those who do not have a primary health care provider. Our Health Unit offers immunization clinics to school aged children at both the Windsor and Leamington offices by appointment. These clinics are free and a health card is not required. To book an appointment call 519-258-2146 ext. 1222

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

  • WECHU and local school boards are jointly committed to keeping our children and the community safe and healthy.
  • Getting vaccinated protects you 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 students, parents and guardians to provide vaccine records to their local public health unit. Health care providers aren’t required to do this.

What should parents/guardians do?

  1. Look at your child’s yellow immunization card. If you aren’t sure if he/she is up-to-date on his/her 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 his/her 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

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

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

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

  • Parents and guardians need to make sure that their school aged children are vaccinated according to the Ontario Immunization Schedule.
  • When a vaccine is given to a child by a doctor or nurse, a record must be given to the parent or guardian.
  • Health units in Ontario must maintain the vaccine records for all students attending school in their area. The ISPA says that health units have to review these records to make sure all school aged children are properly vaccinated.
  • Medical Officers of Health (MOH) have 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 ISPA 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 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 immunized?

You can book an appointment with your primary health care provider (e.g., doctor or nurse practitioner). In addition, the health unit holds 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 my child get immunized?

Vaccines help children stay healthy. In many parts of the world, vaccine-preventable diseases are still common and can be acquired when travelling. Getting a vaccine may involve some minor 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

HR

 

Influenza (Flu)

 

 

Highly recommended every year in the fall.

* = Required to attend school

HR = Highly Recommended