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Students in Huron Perth may be suspended if vaccine records are not up-to-date

Huron Perth public health (HPPH) has reviewed the immunization records of all students attending elementary or secondary school in Huron-Perth, and more than 5,000 records are incomplete, meaning students are either missing required immunizations or their immunizations have not been reported to public health.

This accounts for approximately 39 per cent of all students in the region.

Records are usually reviewed annually, but because of the amalgamation of the Huron County and Perth District health units in 2019 and the COVID-19 pandemic, HPPH is just completing record reviews now.

“COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and a focus on pandemic response limited the ability of health units and primary care providers to offer routine immunizations,” said Jennifer Beaver, a public-health nurse with the immunizations team. “Many students missed getting their routine immunizations as a result.”

Students with incomplete immunization records may be suspended from school under the Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA), and HPPH is asking parents to check vaccine records as soon as possible to confirm.

With teens being one of the age groups affected by out-of-date vaccine records, HPPH will be holding vaccination clinics at local high schools for high-school students to catch up on their missing vaccines.

The dates and locations of the high-school clinics are listed in the immunization letter sent home with students.

HPPH will also hold catch-up immunization clinics for all age groups at its Stratford office, located at 653 W. Gore St.

Parents who receive a letter from HPPH regarding their child’s immunization records are asked to report vaccine status to HPPH if vaccines are, in fact, up to date.

Parents with children who are not current with their immunizations can book an appointment with their primary care provider or HPPH.

HPPH asks parents to respond by Mar. 4 to avoid a suspension notice. In late April, HPPH will mail suspension notices to students without proof of up-to-date immunizations. Suspensions will begin on May 23.

The immunizations team expects a high volume of calls over the next month and requests patience from parents as it works to update everyone’s records as quickly as possible.

To book an appointment with HPPH, call 1-888-221-2133 ext. 3558 or visit them online, at www.hpph.ca/icon.

Amanda Modaragamage, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Stratford Times