As suspensions loom, Ottawa Public Health offers 'catch-up' vaccine clincs

The effort to increase immunization rates among school-age children in Ottawa is ramping up.

5,000 students warned to get vaccinated or face suspension

Kayden Slack isn't too pleased with getting a needle, but without an updated vaccination record, he could be suspended from school. (CBC)

The effort to increase immunization rates among school-age children in Ottawa is ramping up.

Ottawa Public Health is offering "catch-up" clinics in the city's west and east ends for children with incomplete vaccination records.

The health unit says that about 35,000 out of 150,000 school children in Ottawa have incomplete records. About 5,000 letters have been sent out warning parents their child could be suspended if the records aren't updated.

Sean Lynch received a letter for his daughter Emma. He said it was a "much needed reminder" to bring her to a clinic.

Emma had advice for the thousands of other students needing needles: "Be brave. It feels like a little pinch, that's it," she said.

Kerry Slack brought her son Kayden to one of the clinics on Thursday. Their family moved from Montreal and don't yet have a doctor in the capital.

With Kayden facing suspension soon, Slack said she was relieved to find a clinic in time.

"This is beautiful. It's one stop shopping," she said. "Obviously we don't want them going around spreading things around school."

Ottawa Public Health says school principals can suspend students with incomplete vaccination records for 20 school days.

It says only two per cent of parents demand exemptions.


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