Students to be suspended for out of date vaccination information: WECHU

·2 min read
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit says more than 200,00 Windsor-Essex residents are not up to date on their COVID-19 vaccinations. (Mike Evans/CBC - image credit)
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit says more than 200,00 Windsor-Essex residents are not up to date on their COVID-19 vaccinations. (Mike Evans/CBC - image credit)

Hundreds of Windsor-Essex students have been told they will be suspended for failing to report updated vaccination information the the local health unit.

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit said 1,519 secondary school students are being told they can no longer enter their schools.

"Suspensions started today," said WECHU's outgoing chief executive officer, Nicole Dupuis during a media briefing this morning.

The Immunization of School Pupils Act requires public health units to maintain vaccine records for every student attending school and to enforce a school suspension for incomplete vaccine information.

Dr. Shanker Nesathurai, acting medical officer of health for WECHU, said families were advised on "numerous occasions" to provide their children's updated vaccination information.

"The health unit recognizes that this is potentially disruptive to young people and families," he said. "I'm hopeful that young people and families will avail themselves to the opportunity to get vaccinated in the next few days."

The deadline to submit the information was Monday.

Dupuis said more than 13,000 students had not submitted their information in June, which is when notifications were first issued.

COVID-19 Vaccination update

The health unit also said that approximately 200,000 people in Windsor-Essex who are eligible for the bivalent COVID-19 booster are not up to date on their vaccinations.

Dupuis said 252,775 people in Windsor-Essex are also eligible to receive the new bivalent shot. This vaccine targets both the original virus and the Omicron variant BA.1 that emerged late last year and drove the largest wave of infection and hospitalization since the pandemic started early in 2020.

Despite not being able to give information on how many people have booked an appointment to receive the bivalent shot, Dupuis said the response is going well and more information on the uptake would be provided next week.

"We have enough vaccines to fill our appointments and our strategy as identified and laid out by the province," she said. "We'll continue to do this strategy and add more appointments every week. We believe we'll have enough appointments and availability in our community for those that are eligible and interested."

Appointments for Ontario residents 18 or older were made available for the bivalent shot on Monday, but appointments for people considered vulnerable are being prioritized until Sept. 26.

Those vulnerable populations include:

  • Ontarians 70 and older.

  • Residents of long-term care homes, retirement homes, Elder Care Lodges and individuals living in other congregate settings that provide assisted-living and health services.

  • First Nation, Inuit and Métis individuals and their non-Indigenous household members 18 and older.

  • Moderately to severely immunocompromised individuals aged 12 and older.

  • Pregnant individuals 18 and older.

  • Health-care workers 18 and older.

The province recommends Ontarians wait six months before receiving the bivalent vaccine.