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More than 1,000 suspension notices to go out over incomplete vaccination records

in Education/Health by

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit is issuing suspensions orders to more than 1,000 students whose immunization records are not up-to-date in Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes. 

While suspension orders must be issued, the Health Unit says it is continuing to work with parents to ensure their children’s records are updated and students can remain in school. 

“School suspension orders are a last resort and only issued when students and their families have not updated their immunization records with the Health Unit,” says Marianne Rock, Manager of Health Protection with the HKPR District Health Unit. “In many cases, students have received all the required vaccines from a health care provider, but the records for these vaccines have not been shared with the Health Unit.” 

Students and their families who receive suspension orders are urged to immediately contact the Health Unit to update their immunization records. They can do so by calling the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 1507, or visiting www.hkpr.on.ca. The new Immunization Connect Ontario – or ICON web site (https://hkpr.icon.ehealthontario.ca) – also lets families update records online. 

If vaccines are still needed, the students can be vaccinated by their doctor or Health Unit nurses. Students can also be exempted from vaccination for medical reasons and issues of conscience or religious belief. If none of these options is followed, the school suspension orders will take effect at the end of April. 

Under the Immunization of School Pupils Act, all Ontario students attending school must be fully vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, pertussis (whooping cough), varicella (chickenpox) and meningococcal disease. If vaccines are missing, Ontario health units issue school suspension orders to these students. 

In January 2019, the Health Unit contacted approximately 5,600 students in the area for whom it did not have up-to-date vaccination records or valid reasons for why they were not vaccinated. Since then, Health Unit staff have been able to significantly reduce that number as it worked with local families to update student vaccination records or provide any missing vaccines. 

“We are very thankful to the many parents and guardians who have worked with us over the past few months to update student immunization records,” Rock adds. “Now we want to work with those remaining families to ensure their students are fully vaccinated and protected… and do not miss a day of school.”

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