Vaccines are an important part of healthy growth and development. Think of them the same way you would healthy eating, physical activity, or proper sleep.
Vaccines are a proven and safe way to prevent serious infections. Although we rarely see most of these diseases in Canada now, they still exist. If we stop vaccinating children, these diseases will return. Vaccines sometimes even prevent death.
Vaccines help your body to help itself. Your body will make antibodies when you get a vaccine. Antibodies help your immune system to identify and destroy a virus. This will protect your child and those around them.
Most vaccines are given by injection. Some are given orally (in the mouth). New types of vaccines, such as nasal sprays and skin patches, make them less painful for some patients.
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.
For immunizations that are done after kindergarten registration at the doctor's office, it is important that parents send that information to Ottawa Public Health. Updates on immunizations are crucial information to protect the health of students during an infectious disease outbreak, such as measles.
Reporting your child's vaccines
Remember to report all vaccines, including those given by your health care provider, to Ottawa Public Health:
- Fax: 613 580-9660
- Mail: Immunization Program, 100 Constellation Dr., Ottawa, ON, K2G 6J8, 7th floor, mail code 26-44
- Phone: 613 580-6744 Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
- ImmunizeCA App: appottawa.immunize.ca
Important information for parents about immunization records for attending school
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.
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.
Learn more about immunization for:
School Immunization Clinic Information:
Seasonal Flu Information
Learn more about the 2015-16 Season Flu Vaccine
Deciding not to immunize a child
You are encouraged to speak with a Public Health Nurse (PHN) to discuss how best to protect your child from vaccine preventable diseases. For any questions you may have related to vaccines or the exemption process, please call Ottawa Public Health (OPH) at 613-580-6744 to speak with a PHN. Visit Ottawa Public Health for more information.
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