Provide a vaccination record or be suspended, students warned

Students of any local school board face a one-month suspension beginning Sept. 26 if they have incomplete immunization records, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit warns.
Those with incomplete immunization records received an immunization notice earlier this year and were informed of the upcoming suspension, which runs from Sept. 26 through Oct. 21. It's a total of 20 school days. (Valentin Flauraud/Reuters)

Students of any local school board face a one-month suspension beginning Sept. 26 if they have incomplete immunization records, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit warns.

A public warning is posted on the health unit's website and it has sent letters to all parents whose children's records are incomplete at the moment.

Only students born in 2008 are affected. Those with incomplete immunization records received an immunization notice earlier this year and were informed of the upcoming suspension, which runs from Sept. 26 through Oct. 21. It's a total of 20 school days.

The notice informed parents and guardians of which vaccine(s) were missing from the health unit's records; how to get in touch with the health unit to provide updated information; and how to book an appointment for immunization.

The Immunization of School Pupils Act, which became law in 1990, requires the vaccinations. The law is designed to protect the health of children and the community by ensuring students are up-to-date with their immunizations in an effort to stop the spread of preventable diseases.

There are nine immunizations required for school aged children:

  • Diphtheria
  • Pertussis
  • Tetanus
  • Polio
  • Measles
  • Mumps
  • Rubella
  • Meningococcal Disease
  • Varicella (chickenpox) *proof of this vaccine is required for children born in 2010 or later. 

Once updated vaccine information is provided to the Health Unit, the student's immunization record will be updated and the student, parents and guardians, and the school principal will be informed that the suspension has been lifted and the child can return to school.

"It's important for the health unit to have up-to-date immunization records for all students," Judy Allen, manager of the healthy schools program at the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, said in a statement. "We will be providing extra immunization clinics, including evening clinics to assist those who do not have a primary health care provider to get missing vaccines before the suspension date."

The health unit said it is important to know that it is the parent or student's personal responsibility to keep immunization records up-to-date with the health unit.

Health care providers are not required to forward this information to the health unit.

Should parents not vaccinate their children, they must complete an exemption form, which can be obtained by calling the health unit or visiting www.wechu.org.