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News Release

Elementary and high school students require proof of immunization against three more diseases

WHITBY, ON August 05, 2014

Durham Region Health Department is reminding parents that all children attending school need to be immunized according to updates made to the Ontario Immunization Schedule.

Starting in the 2014-15 school year, children need proof of immunization for three more diseases: meningococcal and pertussis (whooping cough), and for children starting junior kindergarten (JK), varicella (chicken pox). This is in addition to the existing immunization requirements which include: measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus and polio. All vaccines required for school are free and are part of the publicly-funded Ontario Immunization Schedule.

“Immunization protects children from many serious diseases that easily spread in schools and the community,” explained Ashley Schofield, a public health nurse with the Health Department.

Age specific changes parents need to know include:

Meningococcal disease

-       If your child is entering JK to Grade 6 this school year, one dose of Meningococcal Group C (i.e. Menjugate) is required.

-       If your child is entering Grade 7 to 12 this school year, one dose of Meningococcal Group ACYW-135 (i.e. Menactra) is required.

If your child is entering high school and they did not receive Menactra in Grade 7 or 8, your healthcare provider will now be able to provide the vaccine.  In addition, the Health Department is offering clinics this summer at Durham Regional Headquarters, 605 Rossland Rd. E., Whitby, and at various community sites across Durham.  If your child is starting Grade 7 or 8, they will be offered the vaccine at their school clinic.

Varicella (chickenpox)

-       If your child is entering JK this school year, varicella is required.

-       One dose of Varicella is needed prior to starting JK and the second dose is needed between four and six-years old, in accordance with the Ontario Immunization Schedule.

“It’s recommended that parents talk to their healthcare provider to ensure your child is up-to-date for their age,” said Ms. Schofield. “They should also provide an updated copy of their child’s immunization record (yellow card) to the school at the beginning of the school year or directly to the Health Department.

“Many parents are unaware that doctors do not report immunization updates to public health when a child receives an immunization. The Health Department relies on parents to send in their child’s updates to ensure records are accurate.”

Parents will receive notification from the Health Department if their child has missed any required vaccines, requesting that they update their child’s immunization record. In many cases the child has already received their required vaccines at their yearly checkup.

“It’s always a good idea to have a copy of your personal immunization record on-hand and know the diseases you are protected from,” added Ms. Schofield. “Non-school related activities such as summer camp, volunteering or starting a new job may also require proof of immunization before students can attend.”

Residents can now keep track of their family’s immunizations easier by using a new free immunization app from Immunize Canada.  A link to the ImmunizeCA app and other immunization information is available at durham.ca/immunize.

To book an appointment, update your child’s immunization record, or for more information on immunizations, call Durham Health Connection Line at 905-666-6241 or 1-800-841-2729.

Media inquiries:

The Regional Municipality of Durham:

Glendene Collins – Health Department, 905-668-7711 ext. 2999

If this information is required in an accessible format, please contact the Accessibility Co-ordinator at 1-800-372-1102 extension 2009.

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For more information, please contact Health Department.