32,000 Waterloo Region students facing suspension over vaccinations

A patient is given a flu vaccine Friday, Oct. 28, 2022, in Lynwood, Calif. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Waterloo Public Health says there are thousands of elementary and high school kids who are behind on their vaccines at the moment and at risk of suspension from school.

The agency says it is launching an awareness campaign in an effort to get kids’ vaccination records up to date.

Currently, around 22,000 elementary students and 10,000 high school students across the area need to get their vaccines in order.

Public health blames the pandemic for a decline in vaccinations in the area as a large number of students missed out on getting shots for protection against a wide variety of diseases, including measles, mumps, polio and chickenpox.

Click to play video: 'WHO warns of global polio resurgence'
WHO warns of global polio resurgence

Students are required to have up-to-date vaccinations or a valid exemption in order to attend school in Ontario.

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“We are working closely with local school boards and our community partners to reach as many families as possible. Our priority is to keep kids healthy and in school,” Waterloo Public Health’s David Aoki stated.

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“We have expanded vaccine clinic availability and are providing community-based outreach with our Neighbourhood Nursing Program in high-needs areas.

“Children who are not vaccinated are at increased risk of getting infections and spreading diseases to others.”

Public health says it sent out vaccination notices at the end of 2023 to families and caregivers of elementary students that gave them six weeks to update their records. Similar notices are being issued to families and caregivers of high school students in January.

The families and caregivers can expect a second warning in February and April, which will allow six weeks to get vaccinations up to date before suspensions begin.

The suspension deadline will be March 27 for elementary kids and May 1 for high school students.


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