Map of Simcoe Muskoka

Immunization

Vaccine Coverage for Diseases Preventable by Routine Childhood Immunization (ISPA)

Under the Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA), all students attending primary or secondary school are required to provide proof of immunization against nine infectious diseases (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), poliomyelitis, measles, mumps, rubella, meningococcal disease, and varicella (chickenpox)). Children for whom the public health unit does not have required immunization records or a valid exemption may be temporarily suspended from school until the required records are provided. Exemptions may be for rare medical reasons identified by a physician or a personal decision notarized by a Commissioner of Oaths.

The health unit obtains the most accurate data for calculating vaccine coverageby conducting targeted immunization surveillance in partnership with schools. This data is then used to enforce suspension for incomplete records. At this time, immunization information is not automatically provided to the health unit from doctors’ offices or schools.  It is a parent/guardian’s responsibility to provide immunization data to the health unit.

The health unit is required to report vaccine coverage for the designated diseases to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

Simcoe Muskoka

Exemptions

Technical Notes

Simcoe Muskoka

The figure below shows the percentage of Simcoe Muskoka children ages 7 and 17 years across the region in public and private schools who were vaccinated against childhood diseases in the 2017-18 school year. The health unit conducts annual surveillance on 7/8 year olds and 16/17 year olds to ensure compliance with ISPA. National targets were set in 2017, to be attained by 2025.

The coverage rates for the nine ISPA diseases in the 2017/18 school year are between 90.7% and 94.6% for 7/8 year old students in Simcoe Muskoka. Rates for 16/17 year old Simcoe Muskoka students are similar, with the exception of Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis):

  • MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) coverage is 93.1% in 7/8 year old students and 93.2% in 16/17 year old students in Simcoe Muskoka for the 2017/18 school year. The 2025 national target for both age groups is 95%.
  • Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) coverage is 93.4% in 7/8 year old students and 79.2% in 16/17 students in Simcoe Muskoka for the 2017/18 school year. The 2025 national target is 95% for 7/8 year olds and 90% for 16/17 year olds. A ten-year booster for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap) is recommended between the age of 14 and 16 years which may account for the lower Tdap coverage rate in 16/17 year olds.
  • Poliomyelitis (polio) coverage in 7/8 year old students is 93.9% and 92.6% in 16/17 year old students in Simcoe Muskoka. The 2025 national target for both age groups is 95%.
  • Meningococcal disease coverage in 7/8 year old students is 94.0% and 93.0% in 16/17 year old students in Simcoe Muskoka for the 2017/18 school year. The 2025 national targets are 95% for 7/8 year olds and 90% for 16/17 year olds. Meningococcal disease immunization is provided once at 12 months of age for conjugate C and again as part of the grade 7 (12/13 years of age) school program for conjugate ACYW-135. For Grade 7 immunization rates, please see the Grade 7 school immunization program.
  • Varicella (chickenpox) coverage in 7/8 year old students is 90.7% in Simcoe Muskoka for the 2017/18 school year. The 2025 national target is 95%. Varicella is currently not required in the 16/17 year old cohort.

ISPAdis_coverage15-16

Exemptions

In Simcoe Muskoka, exemptions had remained stable in the 2000s at 2-3% of all children. However, slight increases have been observed in recent years. In 2017-18 school years, 5.4% of 7-year olds and 3.3% of 17-year olds had an exemption for at least one required immunization. The majority of these exemptions are for philosophical reasons, rather than medical reasons. The higher exemption rate observed in 7-year olds is likely related to the introduction of the mandatory varicella immunization for the 2010 birth cohort.

Unvaccinated children are at risk of getting serious diseases so parents seeking information about exemptions should access reliable, evidence based sources such as:

Technical Notes

As explained on the Vaccine Coverage page, the health unit strives to maintain accurate immunization on all school children in Simcoe Muskoka. However, there is a small percentage of students in suspension schools for which the health unit does not have information. Consequently, the sum of the coverage plus the exemption percentages may not equal 100%. The above coverage rates are estimates, based on the most recent data available to the health unit.

Proof of immunization against meningococcal disease became a requirement in the 2014-15 school year.

Proof of immunization against varicella became a requirement for children born in 2010 or later.

National immunization coverage targets are based on the National Immunization Strategy Vaccination Coverage Goals and are to be achieved by 2025.

Coverage rates do not include students with an exemption. While these students are in compliance with the Immunization of School Pupils Act, they are not immunized against the disease(s) in question.