Community Health Services Department / Child Health & Dental Services Department

Immunizing Children for School Entry

This page was reviewed or revised on Tuesday, May 01, 2012 1:23 PM

Is your child's immunization up to date?


Immunization Schedule

Publicly Funded Immunization Schedules for Ontario (August 2011) - MOHLTC

Please note: Children are due for two vaccinations between four to six years of age, the Measles, Mumps, and, Rubella vaccine, as well as the Tetanus Diphtheria, Polio and Pertussis vaccine.

If you have any questions or concerns please contact a Public Health Nurse at 519 383-8331 ext. 3546.

The Best Protection

Diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps and rubella (German measles) are six serious childhood diseases. The best protection we have against them is immunization. To prevent these diseases from spreading through the community as many children as possible must be immunized.

There is no doubt that a universal school immunization program can control the occurrence of these diseases and their serious complications. 

Diphtheria This is a highly contagious disease. Although rare, localized outbreaks may occur. Complications may include heart failure, nerve damage or death.
Tetanus (Lockjaw) The organism is found throughout our environment and there is no natural immunity. The disease is most often caused by the contamination of wounds and can result in death.
Polio Although the disease is now rare in Ontario because of immunization, it is still present in many other parts of the world. The disease may result in paralysis or death.
Measles This is not a benign childhood illness. It may cause such serious complications as pneumonia, hearing loss, encephalitis, brain damage or death.
Mumps Mortality from mumps is low. Nevertheless, complications such as encephalitis, sterility or permanent deafness may occur.
Rubella (German Measles) The most important consequence of rubella is its effect on the unborn child, particularly if contracted during early pregnancy. The effects include mental retardation, cataracts, deafness or heart disease.

 
Routine Childhood Immunizations - resource (PDF - 370 kb)

Immunization Requirements for Student Nursery/School Entry

To ensure that both children and the public are protected, the Ontario Ministry of Health administers a universal school immunization program as part of the Immunization of School Pupils Act, 1990.

An important requirement of the Act is that medical officers of health must keep immunization records of all school pupils in the province. The Community Health Services Department requires a copy of your child’s immunization record for school entry.

It is your responsibility to notify the Community Health Services Department of any vaccinations your child has received at your health care provider’s office. Physicians can provide parents with an immunization record (yellow card) but they are not required to call the Community Health Services Department each time a child receives an immunization.

To help you provide this information, several options are available to report the information. Visit the Reporting Immunizations section of this website.


It's the Law

The law states that Ontario pupils must be immunized or in the process of becoming immunized, unless they have been legally exempted. Otherwise, they could be suspended from school. Under the Immunization of School Pupils Act, 1990, and Day Nurseries Act, 1984, parents are directly responsible for the immunization status of their children.

This law applies to all students in Ontario under age 18 who attend private or public primary and secondary schools.


Exemptions

Even though immunization is mandatory in Ontario, some children may be exempted under the following circumstances:

Medical exemptions must be authorized by a physician and will be given to children whose health could be affected by vaccinations. Children who are already immune and have evidence to prove it may be exempted as well.

Exemptions will also be granted to children whose parents provide an affidavit stating immunization is against their sincerely held beliefs based on religion or conscience. The affidavit must be sworn by or solemnly affirmed before a commissioner for taking affidavits, such as a lawyer or notary public.


Suspension from School

The legislation permits a medical officer of health to order the suspension from school of any student who has failed to become immunized and is not exempt.

Note: The law also states that parents of children who refuse to have their children immunized or legally exempted are liable to a fine up to $1,000.


Exclusion from School

In the event of an outbreak or threatened outbreak of any disease affected by legislation, the medical officer of health may order the exclusion from school of any student who is not immune, regardless of legal exemption. In this case, the non-immune student may not be able to attend school for two to three weeks.


Are there Risks in Being Immunized?

Children may experience mild side effects such as fever or a sore arm, but the benefits far outweigh such discomforts. Serious adverse reactions to immunization are very rare. For more information, ask for detailed vaccine information sheets from your nearest public health unit office.


Immunization is Easy!

You can have your children immunized by your family physician, pediatrician or by your local health unit. The vaccines are available free of charge. The cost of administration is an OHIP benefit.


Proof of Immunization

All residents of Ontario can obtain a yellow personal immunization record card at the time of immunization. It is important for parents to keep this record and have it updated each time the child is immunized. Proper documentation will help ensure an uninterrupted school year for the children, and, most importantly, the success of the program.


What is PDF? PDF stands for Portable Document Format and is a way of distributing documents over networks while ensuring they always print the same. To view PDF files, you need either the Foxit Reader (1.1 MB) or Adobe Reader (27.7 MB)