The health unit is issuing a stern warning that students could be taking an unwanted holiday.

Staff with the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge Health Unit have announced that over 1,000 students in the district are at risk of being suspended if they do not get their vaccination records updated.

Although the health unit is required to send out suspension orders, it says they are working with parents to make sure students do not miss any school. Marianne Rock, the Manager of Health Protection, says “school suspension orders are a last resort and only issued when students and their families have not updated their immunization records with the Health Unit,”

“In many cases, students have received all the required vaccines from a health care provider, but the records for these vaccines have not been shared with the Health Unit,” says Rock.

Any student that gets the suspension order is urged to call the health unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 1507. And if vaccines are still needed, then the students can get vaccinated by their doctor or health unit nurses. The only students exempt from immunizations are the kids that cannot be vaccinated for religious or personal reasons.

Under the Immunization of School Pupils Act, all Ontario students attending school must be fully vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, pertussis (whooping cough), varicella (chickenpox) and meningococcal disease. If vaccines are missing, Ontario health units issue school suspension orders to these students.

According to HKPR, as of January of this year, there were 5,600 students that needed to have their records updated, that number has been reduced but there is still a lot of students facing suspension.

We are very thankful to the many parents and guardians who have worked with us over the past few months to update student immunization records,” Rock adds. “Now we want to work with those remaining families to ensure their students are fully vaccinated and protected… and do not miss a day of school.”

Suspension orders take effect at the end of the month.