Since April 2015, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) has been reviewing the immunization records of 150,000 students attending elementary and high schools in Ottawa to make sure the information is up-to-date. Updates on immunizations are crucial information to protect the health of students during an infectious disease outbreak, such as measles.
As of early October 2015, the immunization records of 50,000 children in Ottawa are still incomplete. Under the Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA), students attending school in Ontario are required to be vaccinated against nine diseases or have a valid exemption. Parents are required to provide this information to school boards at kindergarten registration. Parents are also required to report all additional immunizations that are done at the doctor's office after kindergarten to Ottawa Public Health on an ongoing basis.
In the months ahead, OPH will be sending letters to parents if their child’s records are not up-to-date. A suspension from school may be issued if a student’s record remains incomplete. Written notices will be mailed between late October 2015 and early January 2016 and school suspensions will be staggered between early December 2015 and March 2016.
Parents who receive a letter requesting immunization information can contact OPH by phone at 613-580-6744 or submit immunization information online, by fax (613-580-9660), by mail or by the ImmunizeCA app. Parents can visit parentinginottawa.ca/immunization for more details about how to submit their child’s immunization information to Ottawa Public Health.
OPH will be hosting “catch-up clinics” for students who are missing required vaccines and don't have a doctor. Students who provide exemptions to OPH for medical or philosophical reasons are not subject to suspensions; however, in the event of an outbreak, the child may be excluded from school while there is risk of transmission.
If you receive a letter from Ottawa Public Health, your cooperation and support to respond quickly is very much appreciated. Your efforts will help protect not only your child but will help ensure all our children are better protected against infectious diseases.