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Deadline looms for students to show vaccination proof

Published on

Troy Shantz

Hundreds of Sarnia-Lambton students could face suspension at school because their vaccination records are outdated, Lambton Public Health says.

Elementary and high school students will be barred from class starting Feb. 21 unless families provide proof of vaccinations by Feb. 17.

Last year, on suspension day, a total of 633 students were suspended.

As it stands, children need shots for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, meningitis, and whooping cough. For students born after 2010, a chicken pox vaccination may also be required.

Many students sent a warning notice have already had the necessary shots, said health protection supervisor Erin Courtney.

“A lot of times parents don’t realize that their doctors don’t submit records. A lot of times they are up to date (and) we just don’t have the records in our system,” she said, noting that was the case with 70% of the notices sent last year.

Sarnia-Lambton public schools have about 98% vaccination coverage, she said.

Parents who want children exempt from vaccinations for conscience or religious reasons must complete a government form and have it notarized. Exemptions on medical grounds must be validated and signed by a health care provider.

The Ontario government says immunization has saved more lives in Canada than any other health-related initiative in the past half-century and is widely regarded as one of public health’s greatest achievements.

The incidence of measles, for example, has been reduced from a high of 60,000 cases a year to just nine cases in 2013, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

“It helps children and prevents disease outbreaks in the school,” said Courtney.

“We want to keep kids safe and healthy when they’re in school, and when they’re out of school.”

Parents with questions can contact Lambton Public Health at 519-383-8331.





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