Hundreds Suspended Over Outdated Immunization Records
Over 200 students in Oxford County are suspended from school until their immunization records are up-to-date.
The public health unit sent upwards of 1,000 warnings home in December. Most of the parents have complied with the laws and gotten their children immunized or provided up-to-date information.
As of 4:30pm on Wednesday afternoon a total of 225 students’ immunization records were still outstanding.
The 20 day suspension is protocol under the “Immunization of School Pupils Act.” However, vaccination exemptions can be issued for medical, religious or philosophical reasons.
“The exemption form is available on the internet and it does need to be signed by a commissioner, so it is an oath that the parent takes in front of the commissioner and the commissioner does sign that form, it is a legal from that needs to be brought to the health unit,” says Oxford County’s Program Supervisor of Health Protection Joanne Andrews.
Andrews says right now, she cannot say how many parents have sought exemptions for their children or if that number is increasing.
Some parents believe certain vaccines can cause conditions like Autism, a belief that grew after a study by Dr. Andrew Wakefield. Wakefield’s conclusions were later debunked and he was stripped of his medical licence.
“Vaccines are safe and they do provide the best protection against disease. Simply, there is a lot of information available on the internet and it’s important for parents and guardians to look at the source of the information and evaluate it very carefully,” Andrews tells BlackburnNews.com. “Vaccines help keep students safe at school…we know that when kids get together diseases do spread amongst them.”
She says the numbers are so high this year because during the past school year the health unit was in the process of transferring all data to a new filing system. No notices were issued last year in Oxford County.
The Middlesex-London Health Unit is in the process of doing the same thing, so it is unclear how many students in schools across the Middlesex-London region do not have up-to-date immunization records.
The hope is to have the system in place by this time next year.
If a child in Oxford County tries to return to school after the 20 day suspension without an up-to-date record then another suspension will be issued.
Several people have been diagnosed with the measles in the Toronto and Niagara regions. An outbreak infecting more than 100 people in the United States has been linked to California’s Disney Land.