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Immunization for Youth 

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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.

What vaccines do my youth (12 to 18 years) need?

There are 3 times when your youth may need a vaccine: 

Grade 7

In Grade 7, your child will be offered:

2 doses of a Hepatitis B vaccine 

1 dose of a meningococcal disease vaccine (called ACYW or Menactra®)

NEW for the 2016-2017 School Year

2 doses of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine  (called Gardasil) for boys and girls

You will receive a consent form from Ottawa Public Health when your youth needs a vaccine. Students need a signed consent to get the vaccine. Students are old enough to give consent for the vaccines but usually co-sign along with their parent(s). Make sure that you and your youth sign and return your youth's form before their vaccine clinic. Students in grade 7 this school year are eligible to receive the HPV vaccine until the end of Grade 12. If you happen to miss a clinic, there are catch-up clinics. They are by appointment only. Call Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744 if you need to schedule one for your youth.

Stay in the know. Learn more about Hepatits BMeningococcal disease and Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.

Check to see the school immunization clinic schedule.

Grade 8

For the 2016-2017 school year only, girls in Grade 8 will be offered the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.

You will receive a consent form from Ottawa Public Health when your daughter is eligible for this vaccine. Students need a signed consent to get the vaccine. Students are old enough to give consent for the vaccines but usually co-sign along with their parent(s). Make sure that you and your youth sign and return your youth's form before their vaccine clinic.

If you happen to miss a clinic, you can wait for the next school clinic or there are catch-up clinics. They are by appointment only. Call Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744 if you need to schedule one for your daughter.

Stay in the know. Learn more about Human Papillomavirus (HPV).

Check to see the school immunization clinic schedule.

Between the ages of 14 and 16 years

Your youth needs a booster shot for Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis and Polio (DTaP-IPV) Vaccine (PDF). They will need this booster vaccine between the ages of 14 and 16 years. This will depend when they got their first vaccine. Your child will get this first vaccine between the ages of 4 and 6 years. Check your youth's immunization record to find when your youth was vaccinated.

The Tdap vaccine is not given in schools. You will need to get it from your healthcare provider. If you do not have a healthcare provider, you can get it from a walk-in clinic.

Report all your youth's vaccinations to Ottawa Public Health. This includes those given by your healthcare provider. Ottawa Public Health keeps a record of your child's vaccinations to help protect public safety. This is important if there is ever a disease outbreak.

Learn more about the Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis and Polio (DTaP-IPV) Vaccine (PDF).

Stay in the know. Learn more about TetanusDiphtheria, and Pertussis.

Your youth's immunization record

Keep a record of your child's immunization. Your youth's doctor will give you a record of all your child's vaccinations. Update their little yellow book each time your youth gets a vaccination.  

This record is important. Keep it in a safe place with other documents, like birth certificates and passports. 

You may need your immunization record for:

Traveling to countries where the diseases are common

Going for emergency health care

Going to work

Living in residence at university or college

Starting university or college, especially in health care programs

Going to summer camp

Transferring to a new school in another area

Report all your youth's vaccinations to Ottawa Public Health. This includes those given by your healthcare provider. Ottawa Public Health keeps a record of your child's vaccinations to help protect public safety. This is important if there is ever a disease outbreak.

Ontario's Publicly Funded Immunization Schedule

Ontario's Publicly Funded Immunization Schedule informs parents what vaccines your youth needs. It also lets parents know when their youth should get their vaccines. "Publicly funded" means that there is no cost for your youth to get these vaccines. They are funded to help protect public safety.

It is now the law that all students need to either have a proof of vaccination or an exemption for the following diseases for school entry:

Diphtheria

Tetanus

Polio

Measles

Mumps

Rubella

Meningococcal Disease

Pertussis (whooping cough)

Varicella (chickenpox) - for children born in 2010 or later

Your youth will meet this need if you follow the Publicly Funded Immunization Schedule (PDF). This is required by the Immunization of School Pupils Act

See the full Publicly Funded Immunization Schedule (PDF).

 

Helpful tips to reduce pain during vaccination

Getting a vaccine might be a scary for some youth. Try some of these helpful tips; they may be your best shot to help your youth overcome their fear.

Offer helpful distractions such as:

  • Talking to your youth
  • Having them listen to music with earphones
  • Getting them to play games or texting on a cell phone

For older children and youth who are very fearful, think about medications that numb the skin:

  • Talk to your health care provider about creams such as EMLA® or Ametop® that can help numb the skin. They are available without a prescription.
  • Ask your health care provider to show you the right locations to apply the cream. Keep in mind that, on some visits, more than one injection may be given. Read the instructions before applying the product. It must be on the skin 30 to 60 minutes before the injection(s). 

Offering praise and a reward after vaccinations can help children and youth of all ages! 

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.

Stay in the know. Learn more about the diseases that you can prevent through vaccines. Vaccines for youth (12 to 18 years) protect against:

 Hepatitis B
 

Hepatitis B is a highly contagious virus that affects your liver. Your liver makes and stores energy for your body, cleans your blood, and helps to digest food.

Hepatitis B spreads from person to person, through contact with infected blood or body fluids such as:

From a mother to her baby at birth

During sex

Getting a human bite

Sharing dirty needles

The virus can stay alive on things like razors or toothbrushes for up to one week. Hepatitis B does NOT spread through coughing, hugs or using the same dishes as an infected person.

Hepatitis B can lead to:

Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eye.

Fever

Weakness

Loss of appetite

Joint pain

Symptoms may take several months to appear. Many infected people may not have these symptoms. They may not know they are infected unless a blood test is taken.

There is no cure for hepatitis B. Most people are able to get rid of this virus, but some get sick and even die. 6 to 10% of infected people have it for life and can pass it on to others. It can cause life-long damage to the liver (cirrhosis) and liver cancer.

Prevent hepatitis B:

Get the Hepatitis B vaccine

Never touch another person's blood

Make sure sterile tools are used for tattooing or body piercing

Do not share razors, toothbrushes or other personal care items

Find out more about the Hepatitis B vaccine.

 Meningococcal Disease
 

Meningococcal disease (MD) is caused by bacteria called Neisseria meningitidis. About 10% of people carry the bacteria in the back of their throat or nose, although most people never get sick. MD makes the lining of the brain and spinal cord swollen (meningitis). It can also cause a bad infection of the blood.

MD spreads through direct contact with the spit or mucous of an infected person. This might happen when:

Kissing

Sharing eating utensils

Sharing drinking glasses or water bottles

Sharing cigarettes

It is NOT spread by being in the same room or breathing the same air as someone who has MD.

Prevent MD:

Get the Meningococcal Disease vaccine

Do not share personal items such as eating utensils, drinking glasses or water bottles

Wash your hands often with soap and water

Find out more about the Meningococcal Disease vaccine.

 Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
 

HPV is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Over 100 types of HPV can infect different parts of the body. Up to 75% of us come in contact with HPV during our life. It can go away within two years without treatment, but for some people, it can lead to:

Anal and genital warts

Cancers of the cervix, penis, and anus

Cancers of the head and neck

Genital warts look like small bumps in the genital area. They sometimes have a cauliflower-like appearance. They range in colour from pink, flesh-colour, white, brown, or grey. A health care provider can examine you for genital warts. Genital warts are not easy to get rid of. Treatment can be painful.

HPV spreads mostly through skin-to-skin contact with the genital areas of someone who has an HPV infection. This includes the penis, scrotum, vagina, vulva or anus. Kissing or touching the genital area can spread HPV. It is not necessary to have intercourse to get HPV. Many people with HPV don't know they have the virus and may go on to infect others.

Prevent HPV:

Practice abstinence

Get the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine

If you are sexually active, use a condom; you can still get HPV but it lowers the risk

Get tested! Although there is no routine diagnostic test for HPV, pap tests can detect pre-cancers of the cervix

Find out more about the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.

 Tetanus
 

Tetanus is a serious disease. The germs make spores that live in soil and dust. You may get the disease if dirt with the tetanus germ gets into a cut in the skin. Tetanus germs are found everywhere, usually in soil, dust and manure. Tetanus does not spread from person to person.

Tetanus causes cramping of the muscles in the neck, arms, legs and stomach. It may also cause painful convulsions which may be severe enough to break bones. Even with early treatment, tetanus kills 2 out of every 10 people who get it.

Getting your tetanus vaccine is the only way to prevent the disease.

Learn more about the Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis and Polio (DTaP-IPV) Vaccine (PDF).

 Diphtheria 
 

Diphtheria is a serious disease of the nose, throat and skin.

Diphtheria can cause:

  • fever
  • sore throat
  • swollen glands
  • difficulty breathing
  • heart failure
  • paralysis
  • death

Complications include breathing problems, heart failure and nerve damage. Diphtheria kills about 1 of every 10 people who get the disease. It is most often passed to others through coughing and sneezing.

Prevent diphtheria by getting the vaccine.

Learn more about the Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis and Polio (DTaP-IPV) Vaccine (PDF).

Pertussis (Whooping Cough) 
 

Pertussis is a common disease. The infection causes prolonged coughs in youth and adults. Pertussis is most serious for babies. This cough can cause a person to vomit or young babies may even stop breathing for a short period of time. The cough can last for weeks. It can be hard to eat, drink or even breathe.

Pertussis can cause other serious problems such as:

  • pneumonia
  • brain damage
  • seizures

Pertussis spreads from an infected person to others through coughing or sneezing. Adults are the main source for pertussis infection in babies and young children. Infected adults and youth can pass on the disease to infants who have not yet had their immunization vaccines. These infants will not be fully protected. They are at greater risk of serious problems.

Prevent pertussis by getting the pertussis vaccine.

Learn more about the Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis and Polio (DTaP-IPV) Vaccine (PDF).

 

Do you have more questions?