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Peterborough Public Health resumes student immunization enforcement – Peterborough

Peterborough Public Health will resume enforcement of student immunization beginning Wednesday.

On Monday, the health unit said it would restart enforcement of (ARI), a step other health units have undertaken after the COVID-19 pandemic and heightened response put a pause on routine immunization opportunities.

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All students between the ages of four and 17 must be vaccinated according to Ontario’s Immunization Schedule, which includes vaccinations against diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, pertussis (whooping cough), varicella (chickenpox) and meningococcal disease. A COVID-19 vaccination is not on the provincial list.

If a student does not have the vaccination, they must have a valid exemption on file with public health.

The health unit serves Peterborough, Peterborough County, Curve Lake First Nation and Hiawatha First Nation.

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“Immunizations protect children from highly infectious viruses and bacteria that can lead to severe disease,” said medical officer of health Dr. Thomas Piggott. “Ensuring that all students are immunized and records are reported to public health will keep children safe in the classroom and prevent or manage potential outbreaks of disease.”

Back in August, the health unit hosted catch-up immunization clinics because it believed more students than usual were behind on immunizations due to the pandemic disruptions.

Students without the required immunizations could face suspensions.

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“Starting in January, we are summing up enforcement of routine immunizations to ensure all students are compliant with ISPA and those who are not compliant may be at risk of school suspension,” Piggott said. “This will begin with the education of parents and guardians of students who are in Grade 3 and not up to date with their immunizations.”

“The goal of our efforts is to support accessing vaccination, and getting our community protected,” Piggott continued. “We have availability in our Routine Immunization Clinic to support those who do not have access to a health care provider.”

Immunization records can be found online at peterboroughpublichealth.ca. A valid Ontario health card is required to access the record of immunization.

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Parents and guardians may also ask their health-care provider to fax immunization records to Peterborough Public Health. Children who are not up-to-date should book an appointment with a health-care provider to receive a vaccine. Residents who do not have a local health care provider can book an appointment at the health unit’s Routine Immunization Clinic by calling 705-743-1000 ext. 331.

More information is available on the health unit’s website at peterboroughpublichealth.ca/clinics-and-classes/immunization-clinics/.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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