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____ Wednesday March 9, 2016 ____

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Community Health

Enforcement of the Immunization of School Pupils Act For Elementary School Grades in Waterloo Region

Waterloo Region - This week Public Health will send 4115 suspension orders to those parents whose children still have immunization records that are not up-to-date with Region of Waterloo Public Health. These suspension orders will take effect April 6, 2016. Parents who receive a suspension order have up until April 6, 2016 to provide proof of immunization or a valid exemption to public health.

Region of Waterloo Public Health is required to collect and maintain the immunization records of all students attending school in Waterloo Region. This is done to ensure the immunization status of all children is up to date in the event of a vaccine preventable disease outbreak.

The Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA) requires students to be immunized against tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox (for those born after 2010) and meningococcal disease. Records of immunization must be provided to Public Health. With appropriate legal documentation, exemptions based on medical or conscience/religious reasons are allowed. If students do not provide an up-to-date immunization record or legal exemption, they will face suspension from school for up to 20 days or until documentation is provided to Public Health.

“Enforcing the law ensures that children and our community are protected against vaccine preventable diseases”, says Linda Black, Manager of Vaccine Preventable Disease Programs. Black reminds parents that it is their responsibility to provide proof of immunization or exemption directly to Public Health.

In late 2015 and early 2016 Public Health mailed notices to parents of 10077 elementary students to notify them that their immunization records were not up-to-date according to the Immunization of School Pupils Act.

"If you receive a suspension order, please respond as soon as possible to ensure we have your information and avoid having to face a suspension for your child", requests Black.

Parents may contact their health care provider or family physician to obtain immunization records and/or immunizations. For those without a family physician, Public Health offers immunization clinics in both Waterloo and Cambridge offices. Parents can make an appointment by calling 519-575-4400 ext. 13007. A listing of Walk-in Clinics at Region of Waterloo Public Health can be found at www.regionofwaterloo.ca/ph.

For more information, please contact our Vaccine Information Line at 519-575-4400 ext. 13007.

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