Even though speaking of vaccinations can stir a wide variety of talk, it really is simple: Vaccines prevent illnesses & the majority of parents do vaccinate their children. Well changes are coming… and if you’re like me you want to be an informed parent. What changes you ask? Well the ministry of education has made changes to WHAT vaccines will be required for your child to enter or attend school. So what do you need to know? Starting in September 2014 you will need to provide proof of immunization against meningococcal disease, chicken pox and whooping cough. This is in addition to the existing requirements against many other diseases. The main changes are:
- Students born in 2010 or later will require the varicella vaccine (chicken pox) prior to entering JK this fall.
- Your child will require the pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine, Men-C vaccine and the menactra vaccine in grade 7 to attend school. There will be catch up clinics offered at local schools for those that did not get the menactra vaccine.
As my son entered grade 7 this year, I received a package with immunization information. I looked at all papers and just wasn’t sure if he had these vaccines. I thought he received the meningococcal vaccine as an infant? He doesn’t need that one does he? I had many questions. Luckily for me (and you) we have a great resource in Halton with our immunization school nurses. One phone call and all my questions were answered and concerns laid to rest. He did receive a meningococcal vaccine when he was a baby called Men-C, however the menactra given in grade 7 is different. It prevents 4 different strains of meningococcal disease. I’m so glad I asked and didn’t assume it was the same.
There really is no need to worry if you have followed the recommended immunization schedule with your doctor. Your child should be up to date and protected as they enter the school environment. The majority of students will not require any additional vaccines. Even though I cringe at the whine of my kids not wanting “a needle” – I know the few seconds of discomfort is nothing compared to the devastation of not getting the vaccine. You see, as a young nursing student in the early 90s one of my first patients was a young man from a 3rd world country who had disabilities due to polio. If I close my eyes I can still see him today… and I remember vividly that I thought to myself “Wow, I am so lucky to live in Canada” …because my parents had easy access to vaccines that prevented such illnesses. Got questions? Feel free to speak with our immunization nurses. I know it was very helpful for me.
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For parenting information or to speak with a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) Simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.