Vaccine deadline for students is May 1, health officials warn
Secondary students can avoid suspension by dropping into vaccine clinics from Thursday to Tuesday
Local students have until Tuesday to get up-to-date on their required vaccination records or risk suspension from school starting May 1.
High schoolers can avoid suspension by dropping in to one of Region of Waterloo Public Health's upcoming vaccine clinics at the agency's Cambridge and Waterloo locations.
The clinics are being held from Thursday, April 25 to Tuesday, April 30 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Under the province's Immunization of School Pupils Act, students in primary and secondary school must be vaccinated against the following diseases, unless they receive an exemption:
- Meningococcal Disease
- Pertussis (whooping cough)
- Varicella (chickenpox) – for children born in 2010 or later
The tetanus-diptheria-pertussis vaccine tends to be the one that most high-schoolers are due for, according to David Aoki, public health manager of vaccine-preventable diseases.
"It's their booster, and it's 10 years after their last childhood dose of those vaccines," said Aoki, who noted that some students may also require a meningococcal shot if they missed receiving it in Grade 8.
Students do not need their parents' permission to take part in the vaccine clinics, Aoki said.
Confirmed measles cases
In Waterloo region, the coverage rate for the measles vaccine is above the provincial average, with a 96.3 per cent coverage rate among 17-year-olds, Aoki said.
Still, Aoki said confirmed cases elsewhere speak to the importance of ensuring that all students in school have their vaccines.
"We don't like to suspend, but this is the reason why we do — so that when you send your child to school you have a good confidence that they're going to be protected from diseases like measles," said Aoki.
"Even though we haven't seen a lot [of measles] ... compared to what we were seeing in the 1900s, it's obviously still around, it is still starting to pop up again, and we really do use this time to encourage everyone to get up to date on their immunizations."