Health unit resumes school-based immunization program
The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) in partnership with local school boards, will resume offering school-based clinics for routine immunizations for Hepatitis B, Meningococcal Conjugate (Men-C-ACYW) and Human Papillomavirus (HPV-9).
This publicly funded, routine immunization program, normally offered to students in Grade 7, will also be offered to students in Grade 8 who may be behind on their routine immunizations due to pandemic-related disruptions. Information will be sent home with eligible students through the school in advance of school-based clinics.
“We are excited to be back in schools to immunize students. The school-based immunization program is an effective way to reach and vaccinate youth. It not only significantly reduces their risk of hepatitis B, meningococcal meningitis and Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infections, but also decreases cancers caused by HPV and hepatitis B infections,” said Dr. Colin Lee, SMDHU’s associate medical officer of health. “It also provides a convenient way for students to receive their vaccine in a familiar and comfortable environment.”
The health unit advises getting immunized according to the publicly funded immunization schedule for Ontario. Having up-to-date immunizations help ensure that children and youth have the best protection against certain preventable diseases and help reduce the risk of outbreaks in school.
The health unit also reminds parents and caregivers that Meningococcal disease is one of the designated diseases under the Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA), that requires children and adolescents attending primary or secondary school be appropriately immunized against, unless they have a valid exemption. Despite not in ISPA, the Hepatitis B and HPV vaccines are still strongly recommended.
Parents and caregivers are advised to update their child’s immunization record and to catch up on any outstanding routine immunizations.
For more information about vaccines that are given in Grade 7 and the diseases they prevent, please visit smdhu.org/grade7and8 . You can also speak with a public health professional by calling Health Connection, 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.