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Exemption from Child Care and School Vaccinations

Children and youth are not required to get a COVID-19 vaccine to attend school, so there's not an exemption process for the COVID-19 vaccine. Eligible children and youth are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated.

Due to the cancellation of the in-person Immunization of School Pupils Act immunization education video sessions, the in-person process to complete a statement of conscience or religious belief affidavit for children attending school has been temporarily suspended at Niagara Region Public Health. Updates to this mandatory process are pending and will be announced here.

A valid exemption is required in order to exempt your child from child care or school vaccinations.

The forms and process to get a valid exemption affidavit is not the same for children attending child care and school. Make sure you follow the correct process for your child.

Exemption information

  • During an outbreak

    During an outbreak of a vaccine preventable disease, children with exemptions cannot attend child care or school for the duration of the outbreak.

  • Rescinding an exemption

    If a medical exemption no longer applies, or if you changed your mind and want to get your child vaccinated, contact us and we'll help you with a catch up schedule for your child.

  • Statement of medical exemption

    Sometimes there's evidence a child is immune to a disease, making further vaccination unnecessary. Other times, a medical condition may prevent a child from receiving a vaccination.

    The most important thing you can do to protect children who can’t get vaccinated is to make sure the people surrounding them are up-to-date with their vaccinations.

    How to get a medical exemption:

    1. Download the form or call to have one mailed to you at 905-688-8248 ext. 7425 or 1-888-505-6074
    2. Have a physician or nurse practitioner complete the form
    3. Keep a copy for your personal records
    4. Send the original completed medical exemption form to the appropriate location:
      • If your child is in child care, you will need to give the exemption form to your licensed child care operator. Licensed child care operators send a copy to Public Health so we can maintain a record on file for your child.
      • If your child is in school, mail the exemption form to Public Health
  • Statement of conscience or religious belief affidavit

    If you're unsure about vaccinating your child, is there something we can do to help? We often hear from parents and legal guardians who are confused about vaccine misinformation. Concerns about a child's fear of needles or experiencing pain during vaccination are also common.

    If you would like more information about vaccine safety, successful pain management strategies for your child, or have other questions, talk to one of our nurses. We're here to help you make sense of vaccines.

    Risks and responsibilities of not vaccinating

    • Understand the risks and responsibilities of not vaccinating your child
    • Learn about each vaccine preventable disease, how they're spread, complications, and signs and symptoms so you know when to get urgent help for your child
    • Consider other possible implications:
      • Some volunteer applications may request proof of vaccination
      • Students will need to check admission requirements for college and university programs to see if up-to-date vaccinations are required, such as medical, child and youth care, experiential education placements or practicum courses

    How to get a statement of conscience or religious belief affidavit:

    1. For children attending school only. The Ministry of Health requires you to complete an Immunization of School Pupils Act immunization education video session with Niagara Region Public Health to receive a Vaccine Education Certificate.
    2. Download the appropriate form and have it signed and stamped by a commissioner of oaths or call Public Health to have one mailed to you.
    3. Keep a copy for your personal records
    4. Send the original required document(s) to the appropriate location:
      • If your child is in child care, you will need to give the completed affidavit to your licensed child care operator. They will forward a copy to Public Health.
      • If your child is in school, mail a copy of your Vaccine Education Certificate and the completed original affidavit to Public Health. Once these documents are attached to your child's electronic vaccination record at Niagara Region Public Health, your child will no longer risk suspension from school.
  • Commissioner of oaths

    A commissioner of oaths is a person authorized to take your oath or solemn affirmation when you sign an affidavit or a statutory declaration. Commissioners of oaths are:

    • Regional clerk or deputy regional clerk
    • City clerk or deputy clerk
    • Treasurers or deputy treasurers of municipalities
    • Justices of the Peace (for items of a legal nature)
    • Lawyers, licensed paralegals
    • MPs, MPPs
    • Police chiefs
    • Some staff at the Service Ontario, Government Information Centre are commissioners

    Some commissioners will provide the service at no cost, others may charge a fee. Multiple pieces of photo identification may also be required.

    Call your local municipality to find out if the service is available, if there's a cost, and if an appointment is necessary.

  • When a new exemption form is required

    A new exemption form is needed when:

    • Your child leaves child care to start school. If an exemption form was submitted to Public Health for your child while attending a licensed childcare facility, a new and updated exemption form is required when your child enters a school in Ontario. Follow the exemption process for children attending school.
    • You move to another public health unit area. Some public health units may require a new exemption. Check with your new local public health unit to learn more.

    A new exemption form isn't needed when:

    • You have submitted an exemption form for a child in school. You don't need to resubmit any additional exemption forms for that child in subsequent years.
    • Your child changes child care facilities or moves from one school to another. Child care exemptions last until your child starts school. School exemptions last until your child's 18th birthday.

Mailing address

Completed original forms can be mailed to Public Health at:

Vaccine Preventable Disease Program
c/o Niagara Region Public Health
P.O. Box 1052, Station Main
Thorold, ON L2V 0A2
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