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Public Health on the lookout for kids’ records of immunization

If your school-age kids don’t have all of their shots you might want to start planning on a doctor’s appointment. Waterloo Region Public Health sent 4,100 requests for the immunization records of elementary school students this month.

“That’s down from last year and the year before, so our numbers are declining a bit,” said Linda Black, manager of the vaccine-preventable diseases program at Public Health.

Parents are asked to update and provide full documentation of their children’s vaccinations by March 26.

“We do this to maintain accurate records. It’s important if there’s an outbreak,” said Black.

In the case of a violent outbreak of a disease, immunization records help determine which kids should be kept home from school. The process also helps to maintain fairly high immunization rates among children in the region.

Public Health will enforce the legislation within the elementary school population next month with students carrying still-incomplete records subject to up to 20 days of suspension or until such time as they can get all of their shots. Parents can provide the appropriate legal documentation if it exempts their children from vaccinations based on medical or conscience reasons.

The Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA) requires all students attending school to have a full immunization record filed with a public health unit in their area, unless proof of a religious, conscientious or medical objection can be provided.

This school year, the act requires students to be immunized against tetanus, diphtheria, polio, measles, mumps and rubella.

Parents can get kids immunized or obtain the records through their family doctor and Public Health began offering walk-in clinics on February 14 each Monday and Friday (excluding holiday) from 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Waterloo office is located at 99 Regina St. S. and in Cambridge each Friday 8:45a.m.-4 p.m. at 150 Main St.

Immunization records can be submitted in three ways: online at www.regionofwaterloo.ca, by calling 519-883-2007, ext. 13009 (8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday) or in-person at the free clinics.

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