Algoma Public Health

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Parents, guardians, and students: protect our school communities from vaccine preventable diseases

Wed, Jul 05, 2023

As we head into the summer break, Algoma Public Health (APH) would like to remind parents that children attending school in the 2023/2024 academic year need to meet the immunization requirements listed in the Immunization of School Pupil’s Act (ISPA). Ontario’s ISPA requires that all children and adolescents under the age of 18, attending elementary or secondary school be immunized with Ontario’s required vaccines or have a valid immunization exemption on file with Algoma Public Health. Maintaining a high level of immunization in schools is critical to protect children from serious infectious diseases.

Starting this week, Algoma Public Health will be sending a letter to parents and guardians of children who may be missing immunizations or who have not updated Algoma Public Health with current vaccine records.

"We are sending out more than 6,000 letters to parents and guardians in Algoma. The purpose of these letters is to inform them that Algoma Public Health’s immunization record for their child is not up to date. This might mean that we haven't received their latest vaccination record, or that they need to get one or more vaccines because they're overdue," said Dr. John Tuinema, Associate Medical Officer of Health at Algoma Public Health.

The vaccines that are mandatory for school attendance in Ontario are:

  1. Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio (available in a combination vaccine: (Adacel®-Polio, Adacel®)
  2. Measles, mumps, rubella, varicella (available in a combination vaccine: (Priorix-Tetra®, ProQuad®)
  3. Meningococcal disease (12 months to <12 years of age: (Menjugate® Liquid NeisVac-C®; grade 7 vaccines: Menactra®, Menveo®, Nimenrix®).
  4. Varicella – for children born in 2010 or later (Varilrix®, Varivax®)

These vaccines are safe, effective, and publicly funded, which means there is no cost to students receiving these vaccines. They protect against serious sicknesses like diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, meningitis, pertussis (whooping cough), and chickenpox.

“We know that the COVID-19 pandemic may have caused some delays in routine immunizations and the summer is a great opportunity for parents to get their child(ren) caught up,” said Nick Minardi, manager of the immunization program at Algoma Public Health.

There is a risk of suspension from school during the upcoming 2023/2024 school year if students have not received all mandatory vaccines, do not have their immunization records up to date or have a valid immunization exemption on file.

How to update your child’s immunization records:

Update your child’s immunization record with Algoma Public Health using one of the following options:

  1. Email a picture of their vaccine record to immunizations@algomapublichealth.com
    Please ensure the email message includes your child’s full name and date of birth.
  2. Fax the vaccine record to 705-541-5959 (confidential fax).
  3. Enter the vaccine record online at www.algomapublichealth.com/icon
  4. Call us at 705-759-5409 or Toll-Free 1-866-892-0172, ext. 5409.   

If your child requires a vaccine:

Ensure your child receives any missing immunizations by making an appointment with your health care provider or with Algoma Public Health.

Learn more about school immunizations.