COVID-19 - Learn about COVID-19 public health measures and get vaccinated.

Children and Youth Vaccination Records

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.

Read Dr. Hirji’s opinion article on the return of infectious diseases such as polio, meningitis and measles.

Requirements for children

  • Laws in Ontario

    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.

    Additional benefits to children and their families:

    • An up-to-date immunization record may be needed for
      • Attending summer camp
      • Travelling out of the country
      • Applying for college or university
      • Certain occupations or co-op placements
      • Receiving medical treatment
    • If you lose your child's personal immunization record (yellow card), you can still access an them by requesting your records online
    The "Required vaccinations" chart shows you which diseases your child will be protected from. Some of the vaccines require more than one dose.
  • Checking vaccination records

    You can check to see if your child has the vaccinations they need to attend child care or school by:

    • Reviewing their personal immunization record (yellow card) to the "required vaccinations" chart
    • Asking your health care provider
    • Requesting your records online
  • Getting vaccinated

    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”.

  • Exemption process

If you received an immunization notice

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.

  • If you need to update your immunization record

    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.

  • If you need to get vaccinated

    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:

    • Some vaccines require more than one dose
    • A vaccine may have been given too early
    • The meningococcal conjugate vaccine given a one year of age is not the same as the meningococcal conjugate vaccine given in Grade 7
    • If the four to six year old boosters are not received at this age, the child will then be overdue for these vaccines once they turn seven years of age
    • The teenage tetantus / diphtheria / pertussis booster is due 10 years after the school entry booster. For more details, see the "Getting vaccinated" section.

    Get back on track with any missed doses. See if there is a vaccination clinic at your school or find out where to get vaccinated in the community.

  • If your school or birthdate is incorrect

    Check the school name and date of birth on your notice. If incorrect, update and return the notice to us.

  • If you need to complete the process for a valid exemption

    Refer to the "exemption process" section.

  • If your immunization record was blank

    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.

  • About the deadline

    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.

Preparing your child for their vaccination

  • The CARD system

    The CARD system (Comfort, Ask, Relax, Distract) provides a group of strategies that can be used before and during vaccination to make the experience a more positive one for you and your child.

    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.
  • How to talk to your child

    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:

    • Why do I need a vaccine? with "To keep you and those around you healthy and safe."
    • What will happen? with "We can ask the doctor / nurse to let you know what they are doing and when."
    • How will it feel? with "You might feel a poke or a small pinch that will last a few seconds."

    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

    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.

  • How to hold your child

    Different comfort positions are available that help your child feel secure and stay still during vaccination.

Reporting to Public Health

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:

Strongly recommended vaccinations

In addition to the required vaccinations, Public Health strongly recommends:

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