September Changes to the School Immunization Program

July 29, 2015 - As of September 2015, the TBDHU will no longer be providing school-based immunization clinics for Senior Kindergarten to Grade 6 students in the City of Thunder Bay and the surrounding rural areas. School-based immunization clinics for Grade 7 to 12 students will continue to be provided.

This decision follows an evaluation of our current school-based program as well as a review of alternate models of service delivery for ensuring that childhood immunizations are up-to-date.  Less than 30 per cent of children in the primary grades who were due for vaccine(s) were receiving them in a school-based clinic. 

In recent years, the childhood immunization schedule has become more complex. Also, additional vaccines were added to the Immunization of School Pupils Act which the TBDHU is responsible for enforcing. These factors contributed to the reduction in the use of the school-based clinics and to the increased need for more direct communication with parents/guardians to review childhood immunizations, explain the schedule and the vaccines, and get informed consent to administer the vaccines. This is reflected in a significant increase in calls to the immunization program. 

Instead of the school-based clinic for primary students, the immunization program will focus on enhancing communication with parents/guardians about their children’s immunizations. Immunization clinics at the TBDHU office on Balmoral will also be expanded so that families that may not have health care providers will have more opportunities to come in to review immunization status and get their vaccines. The TBDHU will be working with health care providers to ensure that all children receive their childhood immunizations.

As the start of the 2015/16 school year approaches, parents and guardians of children starting school are reminded to submit their children’s immunization record to the TBDHU prior to starting school. Required immunizations can be administered by a family doctor, nurse-practitioner or scheduled at the TBDHU by appointment. For more information about immunizations or to schedule an appointment, please call 625-5900 or visit TBDHU.COM.


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