National Kids And Vaccine Day Highlights Importance Of Immunizations: Health Unit


On Feb. 23, in recognition of National Kids and Vaccine Day, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) is reminding families of the vital role that routine immunizations play in protecting children and youth from vaccine preventable diseases.

Vaccines are safe, effective, and are a proven way to prevent the spread of disease and save lives. Having up-to-date immunizations helps to ensure that children and youth have the best protection against certain vaccine preventable diseases and helps to reduce the risk of outbreaks in schools. The health unit advises getting immunized according to the publicly funded immunization schedule for Ontario. This includes vaccinations against tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, measles, mumps, rubella, varicella and meningococcal disease that are required under the Immunization of School Pupils Act.

The pandemic created challenges that led to many children and youth to miss their routine immunizations. Families with infants or younger children who are eligible or overdue for their routine and publicly funded vaccines and who do not have access to a health care provider can book an immunization appointment at one of the health unit offices.

During February and March, school immunization nurses from the health unit will be visiting Simcoe Muskoka secondary schools to offer catch-up clinics to secondary school students who have missed required vaccines (i.e., Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis or Tdap) and those that missed vaccines normally given during Grade 7 (i.e., Hepatitis B, Meningococcal ACWY-135, and Human Papillomavirus (HPV)) through the school immunization program. In January, the health unit sent letters to families of students whose immunization records are incomplete were notified of what information is missing.

During school-based catch-up clinics health unit nurses will offer:

  1. Required vaccines – Tdap booster for 14- to 16-year-olds, Men-C-ACYW (meningitis – offered in Grade 7) and/or measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) if missed.
  2. Second dose varicella (chicken pox vaccine) if missed (not mandatory).
  3. Hepatitis B and human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines that are offered in Grade 7 if missed (not mandatory but strongly recommended).

Vaccines for COVID-19 and influenza will not be available at these clinics.

If a student has already received their routine and required immunizations through their health care provider or a health unit clinic, parents and caregivers are advised to update their child’s immunization record online.

For more information about routine and required vaccines given to students and the diseases they prevent, please visit You can also speak with a public health professional by calling Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 Monday to Friday between 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


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