Laura McColm says she was shocked when she received a call from her son’s school board, saying his immunization files are incomplete.
“Connor was actually two days early on an immunization and therefore, it’s invalid,” said the mother of three.
She says her son, Connor, is up to date on all of his shots, but Durham Region’s health department has issued eight-year-old Connor a suspension notice because he received the shots on Sept. 13, 2013, instead of on or after his birthday, Sept. 15. “I didn’t believe it,” said McColm.
In a statement to Global News, the health department says, “Children that get notices may be missing a required dose, may have received a dose at a wrong time or interval, or may have received all the required immunizations, but Durham Region Health Department may not have all the up-to-date information.”
Any child in Ontario with incomplete records can be suspended under the Immunization of School Pupils Act, which sets province-wide policies. The health department says it also follows national standards when it comes to the timing of immunizations.
The Government of Canada’s website states, “When providing vaccine doses at less than the recommended age, it is important to know the minimum age for administering the vaccine, since doses given before the recommended age may lead to a less than optimal immune response.”
McColm says the health department has given her two options: attend an information session to exempt him, which she plans to attend, or have him re-take his shots. “I’m not OK with… injecting him with another injection.”
Milli Burger, a parent who is also from Bowmanville, Ont., said her doctor wouldn’t give her son his shot when she took him to an appointment a week before his fourth birthday. “They told me to come back a month later,” she said.
But, McColm’s doctor did not give her the same notice about her children. “It’s up to me to make the appointment. The doctor doesn’t call me to tell me that they need their needles now.”
She says she has now learned to keep better track of when her kids get their shots, and she hopes other parents can learn from her experience, too. “Be aware of the dates, the times,” she said. “You’re in charge of their calendar, their schedule.”
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