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Health Unit offering vaccine clinics at high schools

Is your teen due for a boost?

Simcoe, February 10th, 2014.  The Haldimand Norfolk Health Unit will be offering immunization clinics at each of the local high schools to help ensure that all students are up-to-date with their shots.

Upon entering elementary school, students typically have received immunizations against tetanus, diphtheria, measles, mumps, rubella (German measles) and whooping cough.  However, booster shots are required after 10 years of continued protection from tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough.

This booster shot is required by Ontario law as part of the Immunization of School Pupils Act, and students who do not receive the vaccine risk facing suspension from school.

“Schools are a relatively contained environment, and if an outbreak of a disease were to occur it could rapidly spread between students and staff” said Angela Swick, public health nurse with the Health Unit. “If and when such an outbreak occurs, we have to know which students are and aren’t protected”.

Parents may request exemption for their children from the vaccination requirements on medical, religious or conscientious grounds, but proper signed documentation must be provided to the Health Unit in these cases.  If there is an outbreak at a school, unimmunized students will be excluded from school until the outbreak is declared over by the Medical Officer of Health.

Students whose immunizations are not up to date could face a suspension of up to 20 days.

“Our focus is on disease prevention, not school suspension” added Swick. “The Medical Officer of Health does have the authority to issue suspensions; the Health Unit would rather not enforce the suspension process”.

In some cases, students are current on their immunizations, but the Health unit does not have the updated information.  If a teen receives the booster shot from their family doctor, there is no system that automatically forwards the information to the Health Unit.  Parents are required to notify the Health Unit of the immunization so that the student’s records can be updated.  This information may be faxed to the Health Unit at 519-426-9246 or individuals may update their immunization record on-line by visiting www.hnhu.org.

The clinics will be held during school hours on February 18, 19, 25, 26 and 27th.  High schools will be announcing the dates of their clinics during morning announcements. “We encourage the students to listen to those” says Swick.  Students who miss these clinics may receive their vaccine through their family doctor or call the Health Unit at 519-426-6170 or 905-318-6623 to make an appointment for an alternate clinic.

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Media contact
Angela Swick
Public Health Nurse, Vaccine Preventable Diseases Program
Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
519-426-6170 ext. 3227

Or

Maria Mendes Wood
Public Health Nurse, Vaccine Preventable Disease Program
Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
519-426-6170 ext. 3222