Student Immunization Letters Being Sent file photo. (Photo courtesy Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit)

The Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit will begin sending letters to parents in May saying their child will be suspended if they aren’t fully immunized.

As of July, elementary school students are now required to have vaccinations for whooping cough, chickenpox and meningococcal disease.

Betty Schepens with the health unit’s infectious disease and emergency preparedness programs says this has contributed to an increase in letters being sent out this year. “We’ve just mailed out letters to 2,000 parents in Chatham-Kent asking for the up-to-date information because it’s not an automatic transfer from their local healthcare provider’s office,” says Schepens.

The suspensions will last 20 days and students will be allowed to return to school once they receive the proper vaccines. In the fall, Schepens says they are looking at this same process for high school students.

Parents can call the health unit if they are unsure of their child’s immunization record.