If you have received a letter from York Region Public Health, requesting up-to-date immunization information for your child/children, please follow the instructions in the letter.
The Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA) requires all Public Health Units in Ontario to have a complete record of immunizations or an exemption for the following diseases:
- Pertussis (whooping cough)
- Measles, mumps and rubella
- Meningococcal disease
- Varicella (chickenpox) (for students born on or after 2010)
Parents who would like to have their child/children receive these free vaccinations may do so by contacting their family physician or by attending one of York Region Public Health’s free vaccination clinics.
If you have decided not to immunize your child due to medical, conscience or religious reasons, please complete an exemption form and return it to us. Students may be suspended from school if this information is not provided.
Children require certain immunizations to attend schools and child care centres in Ontario, unless an exemption form has been submitted.
To protect the health and safety of all children in our community, all public health units in Ontario are required by law to:
- Collect, review and update immunization records of children registered in schools in our region under the Immunization of Schools Pupils Act, 1990
- Collect, review and update immunization records of children in licensed child care centres under the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014
If an immunization record is incomplete, York Region Public Health will ask the student or parent/guardian for the information. Doctors do not provide this information to York Region Public Health.
Updating Immunization Records
Every time your child gets an immunization, please contact York Region so we can maintain your child's immunization record.
You can update your child's immunization record online or by by calling 1-877-464-9675, ext. 73456.
Child Care Centres
York Region Public Health is required to collect and review immunization records for all children attending a licensed child care centre to ensure their immunizations are up-to-date, as outlined in Ontario's Publicly Funded Immunization Schedule, unless a valid exemption has been submitted.
Under the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014, child care operators must ensure children under their care are completely immunized.
York Region Public Health will request immunization information directly from the licensed child care centre and will review each child's immunization on an annual basis. If it is determined there is missing information, a notice with a 'Request for Immunization Information' form will be sent directly to the child's parent or guardian.
Parents or guardians seeking an immunization exemption for a child attending a child care centre will need to provide one of the following:
- A letter stating that the immunization conflicts with religious or conscientious beliefs
- A written statement from a physician or a nurse practitioner giving medical reason(s) why the child should not be immunized
If a parent continues to seek an exemption due to religious or conscientious reasons once a child enters school, a statement of conscience or religious belief affidavit, signed by a Commissioner for Taking Affidavits, will be required.
Changes to immunization requirements for school attendance
- Meningococcal disease
- Pertussis (whooping cough)
- Varicella (chickenpox) for children born in 2010 or later
This is in addition to the existing requirements for proof of immunization against tetanus, diphtheria, polio, measles, mumps and rubella. The number of required doses for tetanus, diphtheria, polio and mumps has also been updated.
A student who already received all the recommended vaccines under Ontario's Publicly Funded Immunization Schedule will not require any further immunizations.
What you need to do
Check with your health care provider or contact York Region Public Health Immunization Program at 1-877-464-9675 ext. 73456 to make sure your child has all the immunizations needed to attend school. If your child has followed the immunization schedule, no further immunizations will be needed.
By law, students under 18 years old must provide proof of up-to-date immunization information, unless a valid exemption has been submitted.
Students who are missing required immunizations will receive a notice from York Region Public Health to update this information.
The Immunization of School Pupils Act is intended to help improve the health and safety of all children by reducing the risk of vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks.
If you are seeking an immunization exemption for a student, please obtain one of the following documents:
- Medical Exemption Form completed by a physician or nurse practitioner
- Statement of Conscience or Religious Belief completed by a Commissioner for Taking Affidavits
Please forward the original signed document to York Region Public Health. Students may be suspended from school if this information is not provided.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why have I received a notice from York Region?
York Region Public Health sends notices to parents and students when a student’s immunization record is missing information for required vaccines.
You need to review your child’s immunization record (yellow card) to ensure they are completely immunized according to Ontario's Publicly Funded Immunization Schedule.
You need to provide York Region Public Health with the name of the vaccine(s) and the date(s) given (year, month and day), or a valid exemption form. There are several options for providing this information. Please follow the options outlined in the notice and on the ‘Request for Immunization Information’ form.
Why did I get a notice if I already provided up-to-date immunization records to York Region Public Health?
If a parent or guardian has recently provided a child’s immunization record and now has received a notice from York Region Public Health, we may need additional information. Please follow the instructions on the notice or contact us for more information.
Why are a child’s immunization records considered to be incomplete?
There may be several different reasons why a child’s immunization record is considered incomplete.
- A child’s complete immunization record was not provided to York Region Public Health.
A child may have received all the required immunizations, but York Region Public Health may not have all the up-to-date information. After your child has registered for school, the parent or guardian is required to provide the child’s up-to-date immunization record to York Region Public Health each time the child is vaccinated.
Doctors do not report this information to York Region Public Health. It is important to inform York Region Public Health every time your child receives a vaccination.
- A child’s immunization record is missing infant immunizations and/or booster doses.
A child’s record with York Region Public Health may not show the immunizations he or/she received as an infant or booster doses received as a toddler. As a child gets older, there are additional doses of the same vaccine (booster doses) required for a child to be fully immunized. To meet the vaccination requirements, a child’s immunization record must show that all of the required vaccine doses have been received at the correct age.
Please send us the dates and the names of the vaccines your child received as an infant and all of the booster vaccinations received before starting school.
- The Ontario immunization requirements are not met.
A child’s immunization record does not meet the minimum vaccinations outlined in Ontario's Publicly Funded Immunization Schedule as required under the Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA). A child may have received immunizations too early or may not have received enough doses of a specific vaccine (booster dose(s)). Vaccinations must be given at the right time and age for a child to develop complete immunity.
For example, a child may have received less than the required doses of polio vaccine or the last dose was given before the child was four years of age. Also, booster doses for diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis are required if it has been more than ten years since the last vaccine doses was received. A booster for this vaccine is usually required between 14 and 16 years of age.
- The exemption process has not been completed.
A parent or guardian may have requested an exemption, but have not yet forwarded the completed exemption form to York Region Public Health or have not completed the immunization education session. To ensure the exemption is valid a ‘Medical Exemption Form’ or a ‘Statement of Conscience or Religious Belief’ must be completed and signed. As of September 1, 2017, if a non-medical exemption is requested the parent or guardian will need to complete an in-person immunization education session as well.
- A child was immunized outside of Ontario or Canada, or an immunization record is unavailable.
Children with immunization records from another country or children who do not have an immunization record may require ‘catch-up’ immunizations. Please contact your doctor to review your child’s immunization history and determine if your child is able to receive the required immunization. Please inform us when your child has received the required immunizations so we may update your child’s immunization record.
Who is authorized to complete and sign a Statement of Conscience or Religious Belief Affidavit?
The Statement of Conscience or Religious Belief Affidavit may be completed by the parent and must be signed by a Commissioner for Taking Affidavits.
Why do students need to be immunized?
Immunization is the safest and most effective way to protect a child and others from vaccine-preventable disease and illness. When immunized, a child’s body can fight serious disease. Today, in Canada, we rarely see vaccine preventable diseases such as diphtheria or polio, because most people are immunized against them.
What happens if I do not have a family doctor and require my child to be immunized?
A child attending a licensed child care centre may go to a walk-in medical clinic to receive the required immunization. If the child is attending school, they may be immunized at one of the monthly community immunization clinics, or go to a walk-in medical clinic. The parent or guardian may wish to contact the walk-in clinic to find out if an appointment is required.
To get assistance finding a health care provider, use the Health Care Connect program.
Can a child be immunized free of charge if they do not have an Ontario Health Card?
York Region Public Health provides immunizations at no cost for children who are attending school and who do not have health insurance or O.H.I.P. For more information, go to Monthly Community Immunization Clinics.
Do I have to pay for a child to be immunized?
Mandatory immunizations for the purpose of attending school are available at no cost. For more information, talk to a family doctor, visit a monthly community immunization clinic, or contact a walk-in medical clinic.
Is it okay for a child to receive several vaccines at the same time?
Yes. Several vaccines can safely be given at the same time. If you have any questions, please speak to a family doctor or call York Region Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 and ask to speak to a nurse in the Vaccine Preventable Diseases Program.
When a parent or guardian does not want a child to be immunized, can they get an exemption?
A child may be exempt from immunization due to medical, religious or conscientious reasons. A parent or guardian needs to complete a Medical Exemption Form, or a Statement of Conscience or Religious Belief, obtain the required signatures and forward the original, signed document to York Region Public Health.
A medical exemption form must be signed by a physician or a nurse practitioner. A statement of conscience or religious belief affidavit must be signed by a Commissioner for Taking Affidavits.
What will happen if there is an outbreak of a vaccine preventable disease at a licensed child care centre or school?
York Region Public Health staff will review the immunization records of children who may have been exposed to the infectious person at the school or child care centre to determine who has not been vaccinated and is at risk of becoming ill. Children or students whose immunization for that infection is not up-to-date may be excluded from the child care centre or school during the outbreak. For this reason, it is important that immunization records be up-to-date.