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Suspension letters issued to more than 1,600 Simcoe Muskoka students with outdated immunization records

Hundreds of secondary students with outdated immunization records were sent school suspension letters from the health unit this week. 

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) announced it issued suspension orders to 1,623 students in Grades 11 and 12 due to missing or incomplete vaccination records, affidavits, or medical exemptions.

The action comes in accordance with the Immunization of Schools Pupils Act (ISPA), which mandates that public health units maintain accurate vaccine records for all students attending school.

SMDHU reports that 18,000 letters went out at the beginning of the year as a reminder to update immunization records.

"We started that process in January. We sent out additional letters in June, and then we sent out 9,000. So, 50 per cent either got caught up or were reported, so that was phenomenal and then on September 6, we sent out 4,300 suspension notices," said Deanna Thompson, SMDHU immunization program coordinator.

The health unit reports the latest data shows 84 per cent of Grade 11 and 12 students in Simcoe Muskoka have complete vaccination records, while 16 per cent are still outstanding.

Under the provisions of ISPA, public health units are required to enforce suspensions for students whose vaccination information is incomplete or missing to prevent the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases within the school environment.

"It's super important for all of our students to be up to date and protect them from diseases that are spreading," said Thompson. "It's a worldwide issue, and certainly within the last three to four years with the pandemic, many of these students missed these very important vaccines. So, we're in the process of catching them up."

Grade 11 and 12 students are required to receive nine vaccines, including tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, polio, measles, mumps, rubella and meningococcal, "which 2006 and 2007 need to have up to date for school," said Thompson.

Information on vaccination requirements, clinic locations, and scheduling is available on the SMDHU's website or by contacting the health unit directly. Top Stories

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