A total of 2,042 elementary students in Guelph and Wellington County are facing a 20-day suspension if their immunization records are not up to date, says Wellington-Guelph-Dufferin Public Health.
Of that number, 979 of the unvaccinated students are based in Guelph, said Chuck Ferguson, corporate communications with WDG Public Health.
Those figures, which were tabulated on Monday of this week, represents 6.3 per cent of the elementary students in Wellington-Guelph-Dufferin, said Ferguson.
Elementary school students not in compliance with the Immunization of School Pupils Act could face up to a 20-day suspension from their school if they do not receive their missing immunization and update their records with WDG Public Health by Jan. 26.
Students in Ontario must be immunized against mumps, measles, rubella, meningococcal disease, diphtheria, tetanus, polio and whooping cough to attend school.
Immunizations have to be on record with WDG Public Health, said Ferguson, to determine who is at greatest risk in case of an outbreak in the community.
“Schools are very easy place for disease to spread, so it’s about the protection of the students and the general community,” said Ferguson.
WDG Public Health began communicating with schools about missing or undocumented immunizations in December and notices were sent home to parents.
“The final responsibility is on the parent or guardian to make sure their records are up to date so they can attend the school,” said Ferguson.
Recently, WDG Public Health began a similar process with secondary school students, where Ferguson said a total of 2,366 secondary school students in Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph do not have up-to-date immunization records, 1,354 of which are in Guelph.
That number represents 16.8 per cent of the overall secondary school student population in Wellington-Guelph-Dufferin, said Ferguson.
Those students have until Apr. 6 to update their immunization records or they will face a 20-day suspension.
“During that suspension, Public Health is very active in trying to get them up to date and back to school. Very few students, if any, stay out of school for 20 days,” said Ferguson.
Some people choose not to be immunized or cannot be because of medical reasons.
The parents or guardians of those students can have a conscientious statement made, said Ferguson, but it must be on record with WDG Public Health.
“We need to know who those people are, because if there is an outbreak in the school those people are most at risk and they will be excluded from school until the outbreak is over,” said Ferguson.