On the heels of a very severe and contagious case of measles reported in Ottawa, the Hastings Prince Edward Public Health is holding a vaccination clinic next week.
“It just acts as a nudge to get parents in and get their children immunized,” said Bill Sherlock, program manager with the local health unit.
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Records from the Hastings Prince Edward School Board indicate that as of the middle of January, more than 2,700 students within the health unit’s catchment area were not up to date with their immunizations.
“What happens is children are overdue at seven and then again at 17 years of age,” Sherlock said. “Parents are really good at getting their babies immunized at the two-, four- or six-month immunization.”
The number of students with out-of-date immunization records is now around 500 or so, and while Sherlock added that he’s hopeful that number will be at zero by Friday, April 12 when the vaccination clinic is over, he admits that likely won’t be the case.
He estimates roughly 200 students will be suspended on Friday until their immunization records are up to date.
These numbers do not include the approximately three percent of students within the Hastings and Prince Edward region who have not been vaccinated as per their parents’ wishes.
Ontario and New Brunswick have laws that require students’ vaccinations to be up to date if they wish to attend a public school, but parents can opt out on religious and conscientious grounds after attending an educational session.