SIMCOE, February 8, 2016 – The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit will be offering a series of immunization clinics in late February and early March at each of the local high schools to help ensure that all students are up-to-date with their mandatory shots.
Before starting school, Ontario law requires students to receive the Adacel vaccine, which protects against tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough. The Adacel vaccine requires a booster after ten years for continued protection. Typically, students are due for this booster between 14 and 16 years of age.
Menactra, a separate vaccine which protects against meningococcal disease, is now required for school attendance for students in Grade 7 – 12.
Both Adacel and Menactra will be available for students at the school clinics. Menactra is only available from the HNHU through clinics by appointment or school clinics but not doctor’s offices.
Letters will be mailed out to students the week of February 8, 2016. The letters include what immunizations the HNHU has on file and what immunizations are required, along with the dates of the clinics at their school. In some cases, students may be current on their immunizations, but the HNHU simply does not have the updated information.
In the event of an outbreak in a school community the current immunization status is critical information for public health officials. 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.
“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 Rose Huyge, program coordinator for the HNHU’s Vaccine Preventable Disease Program. “If and when such an outbreak occurs, we need to know which students aren’t protected.”
Students who miss the clinics may also receive the Adacel vaccine through their family doctor. If they do, parents are required to notify the HNHU so that the student’s records can be updated. This information may be updated by phone at 519-426-6170 ext. 3214, or online by visiting hnhu.org.
Parents may also request exemption for their children from the vaccination requirements on medical, religious or conscientious grounds, but proper signed documentation must be provided to the HNHU in these cases.
Extra immunization clinics will also be held at the HNHU’s Simcoe and Caledonia office locations. To book an appointment, call 519-426-6170 or 905-318-6623.
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Vaccine Preventable Disease Program
Haldimand Norfolk Health Unit
519-426-6170 Ext. 3214