Parents of unvaccinated children have opportunity over March Break to rectify that, or start talking about suspension.
“It’s important for parents to realize that its their responsibility to report those immunizations to the Health Unit.”MaryAnn Holmes, SMDHU Manager of Immunization Program
The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is offering Immunization Clinics in response to a series of suspension orders sent home to public school students. Over 1,000 letters were mailed out, asking that immunizations record be brought up to date.
MaryAnn Holmes, the Health Unit’s Manager of Immunization Programs, says getting these shots are a snap “parents do need to call into the health unit to make an appointment for clinic space if they need it.” she says, “We encourage parents, if they aren’t able to get into their healthcare provider to get the immunizations that their children might need, that they go ahead and give us a call.” The Health Unit can be reached at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Holmes points out they’re aware it might just be a case of not having up-to-date records, that children already got the shot but didn’t inform the Health Unit. “it’s important for parents to realize that its their responsibility to report those immunizations to the Health Unit. Unfortunately there isn’t an automatic process for that information to get from the family’s doctor office to us. Parents can go online on our website and report information there 24/7.” That website can be found here.
If a parent is unwilling to get the immunizations their child requires, there are further steps required “under the Immunization of School Pupils Act of Ontario, we are required to have an up to date record on file.” Holmes tells Barrie 360, “if the child has a medical reason why they can’t be vaccinated, we need to have a medical exemption on file.”
“If parents are choosing not to immunize their children, they need to follow a process to complete an affidavit. They do need to contact the Health Unit because there is a session that they have to attend in order to do that.”
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In the end, the Health Unit prefers kids get their shots “vaccination is really important, and it’s important not only for us, but also for our families and our community. We need to make sure we’re protecting everyone around us.”