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Health unit delivering school suspension orders

By CJ Goater Jan 23, 2024 | 4:47 PM

TBDHU Logo - Via TBDHU Facebook

The Thunder Bay District Health Unit has begun mailing out suspension orders for high school students in the district who have incomplete vaccine records.

Your child may have received the required vaccines without the health unit being notified.

“Not all healthcare providers like nurse practitioners or doctors will submit vaccine information to the health unit. So it may be, you know, that somebody’s receiving a notice from us or an order for suspension and, all we need is an up-to-date record,” explained Laura Dennis Manager, Vaccine Preventable Disease Program at the Health Unit. “Their child may have received the vaccines at a doctor’s, but we don’t have that information. It’s not automatic that that information gets shared with our records.”

If you receive a notice in the mail, your best bet is to contact the health unit directly for assistance.

Students in Ontario’s public school system need to be vaccinated against the following diseases: Tetanus, diphtheria, measles, mumps, pertussis, which is also known as whooping cough, polio, rubella and meningococcal disease. These vaccines are required under an Ontario law called the Immunization of School Pupils Act.

The notices do not go into effect immediately as there is a 3-week timer put in place before any suspensions occur.

“We know that it’s high school exam time coming up. So we have a number of appointments throughout the exam period that are during the day, so afternoon appointments,” explained Dennis “On Saturday, January 27th, Saturday, February 3rd and Saturday, February 10th, we have a large number of appointments at the health unit. So we’re able to see a large number of students on those Saturdays. We also have evening clinics from three to six between February 5-9, recognizing that you know weekend and evening appointments are a lot easier for families to access immunizations at.”

Since the pandemic the health unit has updated hundreds of student records, and only a small amount of students remain with incomplete vaccination records.

“We’re fairly confident that you know within the next three weeks we can get all those students up to date,” said Dennis.