Toronto Public Health (TPH) has launched a campaign reminding parents and guardians of the importance of child-age immunizations for diseases including Diphtheria, Tetanus, Polio, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Meningococcal Disease, Pertussis (whooping cough) and Varicella (chickenpox), and the requirement for Toronto families to report students’ immunization records to TPH.
As of July 10, 55 per cent of Toronto students (173,000) from JK to grade 12 in publicly-funded schools were not up-to-date on vaccines, or had not updated their records with TPH as required by the Immunization of Schools Pupils Act (ISPA). As of October 7, 80 per cent of students in grades 1 and 2 were non-compliant with the ISPA. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccination rates in students were much higher.
Letters will go home this week to parents or guardians with children in grades 1 and 2 reminding them to:
Later this fall, a similar letter requiring the same information will go home to parents and guardians of students in grades 11 and 12.
The provincial ISPA requires parents to submit records of their child’s routine childhood vaccines or a valid exemption. TPH’s role in the ISPA is to assess vaccination records to ensure students are compliant for the prevention of illness. TPH is currently focused on informing families about potentially missing doses and records so that they can catch up on these vaccines. TPH is not focused on issuing suspension orders for noncompliance with the ISPA at this time. This may change, so it is important for students to get vaccinated and report their immunizations to TPH as soon as possible.
Parents and guardians can update their child’s vaccination record online on the City of Toronto’s Report Student Immunization webpage.
Families can also call Toronto Health Connections for more information at 416-338-7600.
Routine childhood vaccines are received through a family’s primary care provider. Families without a regular provider can seek assistance from Health Care Connect Ontario.
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