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Q/A Secondary School Immunization Clinics

Q. Where are the clinics?

A. Nurses from the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit will be holding clinics at each of the nine area high schools to provide immunization to eligible students. The clinics will be provided during school hours from February 22nd through March 4th. There are posters up in each of the high schools providing details about each specific clinic date, time and location within the high school. The posters also contain contact information for those with questions.

Q. Who are the eligible students?

A. Typically these are 14 to 16 years old students, most of them are in grade 10. They are due for their ten year vaccine booster of tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, (Tdap or Adacel) vaccine. The last time most of these students received a vaccine with these components they were 4 to 6 years old and just starting school. Tdap is a three‐in‐one vaccine….One vaccine…protection against three diseases.

Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, will also be available at the school clinics, for students who still need their second dose. MMR is also a three‐in‐one vaccine.

Menactra (Men-C-Acyw135) vaccine is another mandatory vaccine that will be available at the clinics in case it was missed in grade 7.

Q. How do the students know if they’re due for these vaccines?

A. Students born in 1999 were mailed catch up letters the week of February 8th.

Q. Only students who need their tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis or measles, mumps and rubella were sent notices?

A. No. Most of the students who received notices only need Tdap, Menactra or MMR vaccine. But, the health unit also sent out notices to students who only have partial immunization records. Notices were also sent to students for whom we have no immunization information at all; this sometimes happens when students move from other jurisdictions, like another Country or Province. It can be confusing to some parents.

Q. What’s the best way to provide missing immunization information to the health unit?

  • Online Reporting
  • Reporting by phone 519 426-6170 ext 3214
  • Fax 519-426-9246
  • By mail or in person to:
    Vaccine Preventable Disease Team
    12 Gilbertson Drive PO Box 247
    Simcoe ON  N3Y 4L1

Q. So can students who received the health unit notices just come to their school clinic and receive the vaccines they need?

A. Not exactly. It depends on what immunization information the health unit has on file for the student. The health unit nurses can only administer vaccines to those students for whom we have an up-to-date immunization record. We cannot give any vaccines unless we know what the student has already received.

Students for whom the Health unit has the primary records can simply bring their signed consent form to the school clinic and they will be able to receive Tdap, Menactra or MMR vaccine.

Q. Where else will students be able to receive the required vaccines?

A. Students may also get the vaccines through their family doctor, with the exception of Menactra which is only available through the HNHU. Students can take the health unit form they received and have the doctor complete the section stating what vaccine was given, the date it was given and the doctor’s name and phone number. Then students must return that completed form to the health unit.

Q. I heard that if you don’t have up‐to‐date immunizations you can be suspended from school. Is that true?

A. Yes, under the Immunization of School Pupils Act, the Medical Officer of Health has the authority to suspend students who are not up‐to‐date with the mandatory vaccines.

The health unit would rather not enforce the suspension process. Our focus is on protecting students against diseases that can be prevented by a vaccine. Our business is disease prevention not school suspension.

Q. What about allergies or side effects?

A. Before the nurse administers any vaccine she will discuss any allergies the student may have, to determine whether it is safe to administer at that time. Some temporary minor reactions to vaccine such as mild pain, swelling or redness at the site of the injection are expected. Serious side effects happen less than once per million doses of vaccine given in Canada.

Q. Are there exceptions to that Act?

A. Yes. If there is a medical reason why a person should not be vaccinated, they can have their healthcare provider complete a “Statement of Medical Exemption.” Those who choose not to immunize on
the basis of conscience or religious belief, can file a “Statement of Conscience or Religious Belief Affidavit.” This must be sworn in the presence of an individual who has the authority to sign the affidavit.