“Vaccination provides a critical line of defence against diseases that in the past caused serious illness, and sometimes death,” says Medical Officer of Health Shanker Nesathurai.
“By getting vaccinated you’re not only protecting yourself and your children, but those for whom vaccination is not an option.” That includes the very young, elderly, and those with compromised immune systems.
The good news is that the vast majority of students in Haldimand and Norfolk have been vaccinated against what were once some of the country’s most deadly diseases.
Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit’s annual review of immunization records shows that the immunization rate for the 2018-2019 school year was about 90 percent.
The Immunization of School Pupils Act requires students in primary and secondary school to be vaccinated against certain diseases or have a valid exemption (religious or conscientious).
Students may be temporarily suspended from school if they do not meet this criteria. And the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit is required, by law, to manage this process.
The Health Unit works with family physicians to increase immunization availability and reporting uptake. Vaccination clinics are provided by Health Unit staff in both Haldimand and Norfolk Counties.
Following this process, students who continue to have incomplete immunization records will be suspended from school for 20 days. This year, suspensions will start March 25.
Students with medical exemptions or conscientious/religious exemptions are also accommodated by contacting the Health Unit to complete the required steps and documentation.
Students requiring immunizations can make an appointment with their family physician or nurse practitioner, attend a HNHU sponsored school vaccination clinic or make an appointment to visit the HNHU offices.