The review of immunization records is a routine process mandated by the Immunization of School Pupils Act, 1990. Students, under the age of 18, must provide proof of up-to-date immunization against: diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, and rubella. Vaccinations against these diseases are free, and your family doctor should not charge you for providing updated immunization records to avoid suspension from school.
The immunization program provides information and offers clinics for selected vaccines. Health Unit nurses have vaccines on hand when visiting schools in the spring, and can immunize any student with signed consent forms.
Why do people get immunized?
Vaccines may help prevent or reduce the impact of illness due to a disease. Not immunizing your children could result in serious illness. Immunization is also mandated by the Immunization of School Pupils Act, 1990.
When should my children be immunized?
Parents are responsible for ensuring that their children's vaccines are up-to-date. Every time your children are vaccinated, you should advise the Health Unit. The following chart summarizes a recommended schedule for vaccinations by age:
What diseases are preventable with vaccines?
- Tetanus (lockjaw) - causes cramping of the muscles and painful convulsions. The tetanus germ can be found in soil, dust or manure, and does not spread from person to person. Two out of 10 people who contract this disease die.
- Diphtheria - is a disease of the nose, throat and skin. Diphtheria causes sore throat, fever and chills, and is passed to others through coughing and sneezing. Diphtheria kills one out of 10 people who get the disease.
- Polio - is a germ, which may be found in water or food. This disease can cause nerve damage or paralyze important muscles used for breathing, walking and eating. Polio can cause death.
- Measles - spreads easily from person to person through coughing and sneezing. The infection is serious and causes high fever, cough, rash, runny nose and watery eyes. The illness lasts for one to two weeks and complications sometimes occur. Pregnant women can miscarry or give birth prematurely if exposed to the virus.
- Rubella (German measles) - spreads by contact with an infected person through coughing or sneezing. Although it causes a mild illness in children, it is extremely dangerous for pregnant women. Rubella may cause fever, sore throat, swollen glands and a rash on the face and neck.
- Mumps - is a disease that causes fever, headaches and swelling of the cheeks and jaw. Mumps can cause deafness in children and other serious illnesses. People can get mumps from an infected person coughing or sneezing around them.
- Pertussis (whooping cough) - affects people for weeks and most often strikes young children. Symptoms include violent coughing and vomiting. Sometimes breathing stops for a short period of time. This illness spreads very easily from an infected person through coughing or sneezing. Pertussis can lead to other serious complications including pneumonia, brain damage and death.
- Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) - is a germ that causes serious infection. Children under five years of age are more likely to get Hib disease. Complications include the development of meningitis, which can lead to brain damage, deafness and blindness. The Hib germ spreads to others through coughing and sneezing.
- Hepatitis B - transmits through blood and other body fluids. Hepatitis B and is the biggest cause of liver cancer worldwide. People with this illness often become tired, feverish, lose their appetite, and sometimes get yellow skin and/or eyes. There is no cure for Hepatitis B. The vaccine is available free-of-charge to students in Grade 7. Health Unit nurses administer the vaccine in clinics at schools.
Where can I get more information?
For more information, please contact your family doctor or the Public Health Department in your area.
Durham Region Health Department
605 Rossland Road East
Whitby, Ontario L1N 6A3
For additional information on pneumonia, meningitis, chicken-pox and all other vaccines, visit the Ministry of Health website.