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Children with an incomplete immunization record with the HNHU may be suspended from school

The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit (HNHU) issued suspension orders to 652 elementary and 427 high school students who have immunization records that are not up to date, in accordance with the Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA). The suspension orders were issued the first week of 2024.  

As of January 16, 2024, 478 elementary and 342 high school students remain non-compliant with ISPA. 

To ensure that all students under the age of 18 attending school in Haldimand and Norfolk counties have up-to-date immunization records in the event of an outbreak, the HNHU must collect and maintain those records.  

As part of that process, requests for immunization record submissions were mailed to students in July and November 2023, in addition to the suspension orders sent in January 2024.  

In Ontario, the ISPA requires all students between the age of four to 17 to provide proof of routine childhood immunization against the following infectious diseases: 

  • Tetanus 
  • Diphtheria 
  • Pertussis (whooping cough) 
  • Polio 
  • Measles 
  • Mumps 
  • Rubella 
  • Meningitis 
  • Varicella (chicken pox) — for children born after 2010. 

Or, alternatively, have a valid exemption to attend school.  

As part of the HNHU’s ISPA enforcement for the 2023-2024 school year, immunization records of students born in 2007, 2015 and 2016 have been assessed for compliance. These students whose records remain incomplete will face suspension from school on February 7, 2024. Suspensions can last up to 20 days. 

Proof of COVID-19 vaccines is currently not a requirement to attend school and does not need to be reported. 

“There is a general misconception that immunizations received from a person’s healthcare provider are reported to Public Health on their behalf,” said Eric Robertson, program manager – Vaccine Preventable Diseases, “When in fact, parents have an important role to play. It is their responsibility to report the immunizations their child receives to the Health Unit.” 

Parents and caregivers can review and update their child’s immunization record with the health unit at or contact their healthcare provider to receive any immunizations needed. The HNHU is also offering walk-in and appointment-based clinics to meet the needs of the students over the coming weeks.  

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