School vaccinations: reporting made easier

MANITOULIN—Soon, parents and guardians with school-aged children will begin to receive reminder notices of the need to report their child’s vaccinations to the Sudbury and District Health Unit. The notices provide information about each student and the vaccinations that are not up-to-date or for which the Health Unit does not have a record on file.

“This year we’ve put in place a new online process to allow parents and guardians to report their child’s vaccinations,” said Shannon Dowdall-Smith, a manager in the Health Unit’s Clinical and Family Services Division. “Parents can still call in, fax, mail or drop off their child’s record, but now, they can also simply take a picture of their yellow immunization card or fill out an online form and submit it at their convenience.”

The vaccinations required to attend school protect against diphtheria, polio, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella, meningococcal disease, pertussis and varicella (chickenpox).

“As a parent and public health professional, I know that vaccinations are critically important to health but I also know that life is busy,” said Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, Sudbury and District Medical Officer of Health. “We hope that our new online reporting will ease parents’ job of reporting to public health.”

The Immunization of School Pupils Act requires that all students aged four to 17 years who attend school receive certain vaccinations and that their parents or guardians report the vaccinations to their local public health unit, or that they submit a valid statement of exemption for medical reasons, reasons of conscience or religious beliefs.

Students who do not have up-to-date vaccination records can be suspended from school for 20 school days.

If parents or guardians believe they have received a reminder notice in error, they are encouraged to contact the Health Unit to have their record promptly reviewed and updated as necessary.

The online “Vaccination Reporting Form” is available on the Health Unit’s website at Parents and guardians can also call the Health Unit to speak with a public health nurse if they have questions about their child’s vaccinations at 705-522-9200, ext. 458 (toll-free 1-866-522-9200).