Many children missed doses of routine vaccines during the pandemic. The lack of protection from vaccine preventable diseases puts them at risk. In 2021, there were higher than average numbers of cases of chickenpox and pneumococcal disease.
By law in Ontario, Public Heath must have an up-to-date immunization record or valid exemption on file for each child attending a licensed child care centre, licensed home child care agency (Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014) or school (Immunization of School Pupils Act).
Niagara Region Public Health is reviewing immunization records and exemptions for all school age children during the 2022-2023 school year. You will not be contacted if we have an up-to-date immunization record or valid exemption on file for your child.
These laws are important to protect our communities from diseases. If an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease occurs at a school or child care facility, Public Health will use immunization records and valid exemptions to quickly figure out who is at risk so they can be notified and excluded from school or child care until the outbreak is over. In Niagara, this was done in 2015 for measles and 2017 for mumps.
You can check to see if your child has the vaccinations they need to attend child care or school by:
Your child's vaccines are based on a routine schedule starting at two months of age. When following the routine schedule, timing matters. By following this, your child will stay up-to-date with the required and recommended vaccinations.
The schedule gives some age ranges for your child to receive a vaccine (four to six and 14 to 16 years).
Your child becomes overdue for the four to six year booster once they turn seven years of age. However, your child becomes due for their 14 to 16 year booster 10 years after receiving their four to six year booster.
For example, if they receive their four to six year booster at four years of age, they become due for their 14 to 16 year booster at 14 years of age. For questions, contact the vaccine team.
Learn about where to get vaccinated. If your child gets anxious or nervous about getting a needle, see “Preparing your child for their vaccination”.
If you received a notice from Niagara Region Public Health, it means we are missing vaccination information from you. Select the drop down option(s) that apply to you for next steps.
You may have received all the required vaccinations, but Public Health does not have this information on file. Immunization records are not automatically provided to us. Report any vaccines received from a health care provider.
If you are unsure if your immunization record is up-to-date, contact your health care provider. Report any vaccines received to Public Health.
Take both the notice and the immunization record that comes with it to your health care provider appointment.
In some cases, it may seem like we are asking you for a vaccine that has already been given. However, it is important to know that:
Check the school name and date of birth on your notice. If incorrect, update and return the notice to us.
Refer to the "exemption process" section.
If the notice you were sent contained a blank immunization record, it means Public Health does not have any vaccination on file for you. Contact your health care provider to find out which vaccines you already have and which ones you may need. Report each vaccination received to Public Health.
Take action as soon as you receive the notice, especially if you need to contact your health care provider. Report the missing vaccination information to Public Health as soon as you are able to.
Learn how you can play your CARDs during your child's vaccination. Help your child choose what CARDs they want to play to reduce the pain, stress and worry about getting a needle.You can also help your child use CARD to cope with stressful situations. Help your child cope with anxiety or give them the CARD system for coping with their fears and anxiety.
A parent / legal guardian's words and actions can influence how well children cope during vaccination.
Toddlers and preschoolers may be told they will be getting a needle just before getting the vaccine. School-aged children may be told at home that they will be getting a needle. Use the CARD system to provide a more positive vaccination experience for both you and your child.
Answer the question:
After the vaccination, tell your child that they did well. Positive recognition and rewards after the procedure, such as stickers, help a child feel good about the skills they learned during the procedure.
If your child finds needles painful, you may wish to apply a topical anesthetic before going to the clinic to numb the area. No prescription is needed. Topical anesthetics are available at a pharmacy. Follow the directions on the package to know where and when it should be applied. For example, 30 minutes to one hour before the scheduled appointment.
Different comfort positions are available that help your child feel secure and stay still during vaccination.
Parents / legal guardians and students 16 years of age and older are responsible for reporting vaccines directly to Public Health. Health care providers do not do this for you.
Report each vaccination by:
In addition to the required vaccinations, Public Health strongly recommends: