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Is your teen due for a boost? Health Unit offering vaccine clinics at high schools

SIMCOE, FEBRUARY 5, 2013 – The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit will be offering a series of immunization clinics in February 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 for 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.

According to Health Unit records, close to 2000 area students are due for their booster shot.

The Health Unit mailed a notice and consent form to every eligible student in January, along with information about the date of their respective school immunization clinic.

“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 Maria Mendes Wood, 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.

“This can be very disruptive when students are trying to complete their year,” explained Mendes Wood. “Students up-to-date on their vaccines would be protected and would continue attending school as usual.”

Students whose immunizations are not up to date by April 9, 2013 face a 20 day suspension.

“Our focus is on disease prevention, not school suspension,” added Mendes Wood. “Although the Medical Officer of Health has 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 simply 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 519-426-4767, or individuals may update their immunization record on-line by visiting

The clinics will be held during school hours on February 13, 14, 19, 20 and 21. The notices sent to parents contain information as to when clinics will be held in their local high school. Students who miss the clinics may also receive the vaccine through their family doctor. Extra clinics will also be held at the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit’s Simcoe and Caledonia office locations, by appointment. To book an appointment, call 519-426-6170 or 905-318-6623.

Media contacts:

Maria Mendes Wood
Public Health Nurse, Vaccine Preventable Diseases Program
Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
Ext. 3222 at either 519-426-6170 or 905-318-6623
[email protected]


Eric Robertson
Public Health Nurse, Vaccine Preventable Diseases Program
Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
Ext. 3227 at either 519-426-6170 or 905-318-6623
[email protected]