Kitchener-Waterloo

Region won't suspend students lacking immunization records this year

Students who do not have updated immunization records will not receive suspension notices this year, according to the Region of Waterloo's public health department.

Students who do not have updated immunization records will not receive suspension notices this year, according to the Region of Waterloo's public health department.

Karen Quigley-Hobb, the director of infectious disease with the department, says that as a result of the province introducing a new database that tracks immunization records called Panorama, the region won't be issuing suspension notices. 

"In the transition process, we are now needing to resolve duplicates of information," said Quigley-Hobb. "So what we are doing is reconciling those, and we want to make sure our database is accurate before we are actually suspending children from school." 

However, Quigley-Hobb says public health will still be asking parents for information and records to verify immunization status. 

"We do know that we've got very good immunization rates in our schools," said Quigley-Hobb. "In terms of coverage, this is going to have a minimal impact. It will be important to begin enforcing next year."

All students under age 18 are required to prove proof of immunizations, or appropriate documentation to support an exemption in case of medical or religious reasons. Information can be updated online, by phone or by fax. 

The region has suspended students in the past for not providing those records. In 2014, about 4,000 suspension notices were issued to students across Waterloo Region according to public health, though only 526 elementary and 582 secondary school students were actually suspended. 

Required immunizations for school-aged children

According to the provincial government, these are the vaccinations school-aged children are required to obtain. Three of the vaccinations are new, and have been added for the 2014/2015 school year. 

  • Diphtheria
  • Tetanus
  • Polio
  • Measles
  • Mumps
  • Rubella​
  • Meningococcal Disease - NEW 
  • Pertussis (whooping cough) - NEW
  • Varicella (chickenpox) - NEW