Children and Youth Immunization Records
Public Health vaccination clinic locations and walk-in options for families of students who received a Final Immunization Notice.
Cases of vaccine preventable disease have shown up recently in Ontario:
- Toronto Public Health confirmed a meningococcal disease outbreak in August 2022
- Pertussis (whooping cough) cases have been increasing since the fall 2022 / winter 2023 in Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph and Southwestern Public Health
- Six cases of measles have been reported in Canada in 2023, three of them in Ontario between February and April
These diseases can have severe impact - they can make even a previously healthy child very sick. Vaccines help keep all children safe, protecting their long-term health and well-being.
Requirements for children
Laws in Ontario
By law in Ontario, Public Health 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.
- 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 request your records online using Immunization Connect
Checking immunization records
You can check to see if your child has the vaccinations they need to attend child care or school by:
- Comparing their personal immunization record (yellow card) to the "required vaccinations" chart
- Asking your health care provider
- Request your records online using Immunization Connect
Your child's vaccines are based on a routine schedule starting at two months of age. When following the routine schedule, timing matters. It is designed to protect your child when they are most at risk for those diseases. A delay or gap leaves your child at high risk of infection.
The schedule does give optimal age ranges for your child to receive a vaccine. For example, the adolescent Tdap (tetanus / diphtheria / pertussis) booster is indicated between 14 to 16 years of age.
This means if they get their four to six year booster at four years of age, they become due for their adolescent booster 10 years later at 14 years of age. If you have any questions, contact the vaccine team.
Learn about where to get vaccinated. If your child gets anxious or nervous about vaccination, 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 using Immunization Connect.
If you need to get vaccinated
Take both the notice and the immunization record that came 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 at one year of age is not the same as the meningococcal conjugate vaccine given in Grade 7
- If the four to six year old booster is not received at this age, the child will then be overdue for this vaccine once they turn seven years of age
- The adolescent tetanus / diphtheria / pertussis booster is due 10 years after the four to six year old booster. For more details, see the "Getting vaccinated" section.
Get back on track with any missed doses. See Public Health vaccination clinic locations and walk-in options for families of students who received a Final Immunization Notice.
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.
If you received an Order of Suspension
About the Order of Suspension
If an Order for Suspension from Attendance at School has been issued for your child, it is because Public Health has not received one of the following:
- An updated immunization record
- Contact your child's health care provider to get their immunization record or to make an appointment to receive the required vaccine(s)
- If you do not have a health care provider, book an appointment at a Public Health vaccination clinic
- Once you get the information and / or your child receives their vaccination(s), report this information to Public Health using Immunization Connect
- A valid exemption
- If you have chosen not to have your child vaccinated (for medical, religious or philosophical reasons), complete the legal exemption process
I've been suspended from school. What should I do?
Suspension takes effect on May 15. You can report immunization information to Public Health with written documentation. This includes a copy of your yellow card, reporting chit from a health care provider or a valid exemption.
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.
To report each vaccination, you can:
- Submit updates to Immunization Connect
- Call 905-688-8248 or 1-888-505-6074 ext. 7425
- Fax your personal immunization record (yellow card) to 905-688-8225
- Mail a copy of your personal immunization record (yellow card) to P.O. Box 1052, Station Main, Thorold, ON L2V 0A2. Write "Attention VPD" on the envelope.
- Drop off a copy of your personal immunization record (yellow card) in a sealed envelope at a Public Health office between 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Write "Attention VPD" on the envelope.
|Vaccine Preventable Disease||Child Care||School|
|Haemophilus Influenza Type B (Hib)|
|Pertussis (whooping cough)|
|Rubella (German measles)|
|Varicella (chickenpox) for children born in 2010 or after|
Strongly recommended vaccinations
In addition to the required vaccinations, Public Health strongly recommends:
- Staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccination (for children six months of age and older)
- Annual flu vaccine (for children six months of age and older)
- Hepatitis B and Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine (for Grade 7 students)