City's immunization records out of date for 63,000 Ottawa students
Parents required to send updated records to public health before start of school year
Ottawa Public Health says it still does not have up-to-date immunization records for some 63,000 Ottawa students and says if parents don't get them that information before the school year begins, their children could face suspension.
Public Health said many parents are unaware that it's up to them to send the department updated information for the nine vaccines school-aged children are required to have.
"The law is very clear," said Marie-Claude Turcotte of Ottawa Public Health. "Children can be suspended from school. That's what we're trying to avoid. Contacting the parents, being very proactive so that they have the opportunity to give us the information."
It doesn't necessarily mean students don't have the proper vaccines, she said — just that the public health agency doesn't have it on record.
Having that complete information is important in case of a disease outbreak at school, Turcotte said.
If Ottawa Public Health doesn't get the information from parents, students could face possible suspension when school starts in September, she added.
Ottawa Public Health began reviewing the immunization records for 150,000 children in Ottawa in April. It has redeployed staff to check that all students in Ottawa have up-to-date immunization information.
An automated dialer is in the process of calling all the households whose children's records are out of date.
"Parents should not ignore that call. If they get that call it means at least one of their children is not up to date," Turcotte said.
Parents can also go to Ottawa Public Health's website to update children's information.