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Parents are responsible for notifying Public Health Services when their child receives an immunization so that their record is complete.
Public Health is responsible for screening vaccine records and notifying parents when they are not up-to-date on their immunizations. Currently, Public Health Services focuses on 7 and 17 year olds.
Notification of vaccine
Parents are responsible for notifying Public Health Services when their child receives an immunization so that their record is updated.
Parents must report the date of all of their child’s vaccines to public health at 905‑540‑5250. Before calling, parents must have:
- their child’s health card number
- dates their child received vaccines
A vaccine record is a health record that contains information on the person, vaccines received and dates those vaccines were received. It is completed by the health care provider giving the vaccine.
To be in compliance with the Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA), parents/students must either:
- be up to date on specific vaccines named in the ISPA and report the vaccines to Public Health
- provide a valid medical exemption to Public Health
- have a completed statement of conscientious objection on file with Public Health
Schools and immunizations
Schools support Public Health by promoting immunizations, allowing Public Health to enter schools to provide immunizations in grade 7 and keeping students out of school when Public Health issues a suspension order due to non-compliance with vaccine legislation.
In Ontario, by law (Immunization of School Pupils Act), children must have some vaccines before going to school in Canada. Children must be immunized for the following diseases:
- Pertussis (whooping cough)
- Rubella (German measles)
- Varicella (chickenpox)
Most immunizations are provided by primary health care providers (i.e. family doctors). Parents are then responsible for reporting their child’s immunizations to Public Health Services. Public Health Services also provides immunizations to grade 7 students that include hepatitis B, human papillomavirus (HPV) and meningococcal.
Some students may not be vaccinated for medical reasons. Parents will need their doctor to fill out a statement of Medical Exemption Form and provide it to Public Health.
Parents with strong beliefs against vaccines can complete forms to let Public Health know their child will not get the vaccines. Forms must be notarized by a commissioner or notary public.
If an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease occurs in a school, students who are not up to date with their immunizations may be excluded from school.
What is the exemption rate in Hamilton?
Parents can choose to opt out of one or more multiple vaccines. In Hamilton, the number of medical and conscientious exemptions on file is between two and three per cent, which is similar to the rest of Ontario.
School immunization rates
What does it mean if a school falls below a 95 per cent immunization rate?
All Hamilton school students and staff should keep their immunizations up to date according to Ontario's Publicly-funded Immunization schedule. This will provide the best protection for you as well as those at home or in the community who might not be able to be immunized (for example: some people receiving cancer treatments or very young babies).
Are schools that fall below a 95 per cent immunization rate safe?
It is safe for students to attend schools in Hamilton. Should an outbreak of a vaccine preventable disease occur at a school, students or staff not immune to the disease may be excluded from school.
Does Public Health have any plans to provide booster shots to high school students?
Students and staff needing to update their immunizations should see their primary health care provider (family doctor). Those without a family doctor can also access vaccines through walk in clinics.
Parents/students should remember to report these vaccines to Public Health Services by providing a copy of your child's yellow immunization card or a record from their doctor:
City of Hamilton
Public Health Services Vaccine Program
P.O. Box 897
Hamilton, Ontario, L8N 3P6
have your child's vaccine dates and health card number ready
PHS continues to provide hepatitis B, HPV and meningococcal vaccines to grade 7 students.
Communication to parents
Public Health works closely with primary care providers and school boards to communicate with parents about the law related to vaccinations.
Through collaboration with our school board partners vaccine record reporting was communicated through postcards sent home with students, information on school websites, sending home automated voice messages, media reports, and on social media.
Newcomers are immunized by their primary healthcare providers and follow the same process as Canadian-born students.
Parents are responsible for reporting vaccine records to Public Health Services. As Public Health reviews and identifies incomplete vaccine records parents and students are notified.
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