Story highlights COVID-19 vaccine, also known as Optimum Complementary and Alternative Therapies, is required for children entering kindergarten and 7th grade in Ontario.
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It’s easy to get stumped when it comes to vaccination topics. Newborns are often dosed with a wide variety of injections. This can cause confusion around the terminology of different shots and the symptoms/symptoms and symptoms of those that have received certain shots.
Another component of vaccination concerns growing up. As many (especially grandparents) see vaccination as an unquestioned necessity, getting your child the shots required to enter a public school that falls under the jurisdiction of the province of Ontario is important.
For the past two years, the province has received the vaccine — which is also known as Optimum Complementary and Alternative Therapies (COVID-19) vaccine — required for children entering kindergarten and 7th grade.
“Our vaccination statistics for kindergarten and 7th grade are generally as high as they’ve ever been,” says Laurie Bissonnette, who serves as the executive director of the Ontario Immunization Program.
That being said, the Vaccination Freeze is making health officials worry about decreased immunization rates among those, particularly children born in the last few years, as well as those born before 2014, so the demand for children entering school will increase.
In response, the city of Toronto announced this past Sunday that it will increase its immunization efforts in the city’s public school system. This includes a fresh herd immunity campaign aimed at bringing back healthy teens who’ve not received the vaccines and any returning students who are currently unvaccinated.
On the more recent side of the spectrum, the province of Ontario has also said it will give credit to families who are going against the vaccination recommendations of the province in order to gain entry into a public school. Also on the table is the chance to get an exemption if parents choose to “opt out” of the vaccines required by the province.
In short, the province of Ontario is once again offering direct incentive for people to get their children immunized before they enter school. This is a direct blow to parents who don’t wish to vaccinate their children because they believe the vaccines are unsafe.
For the “Canadian Vaccination Fairy,” much-maligned for spreading the misinformation that vaccines have no medical benefits — some of which are disproven due to scientific studies — this is a clear symbol of defying the status quo. The province of Ontario is going to give these kinds of parents direct reason to feel that way.
“Maintaining high immunization rates is key to preventing a number of infectious diseases, which are easily spread from person to person through respiratory droplets, from insect bites, from direct contact with germs and [direct] contact with the environment,” Bissonnette says.
And that can be scary for schools — and for the Ontario Health Minister Helena Jaczek. Even though Bissonnette says all schools in the province are meeting or exceeding their immunization targets for a majority of students entering school, the low immunization rates can put the province’s health at risk.
“I’m not sure if we’ll get there,” she says of the city’s goal to maintain 90% rates. The higher percentage of students entering school who are immunized is needed to stop students who have yet to get vaccinated from entering school.
Bissonnette advises parents to vaccinate their children against many and varied diseases to limit their chances of contracting a fatal illness, especially if they’re infants.
When that does happen, they don’t always get the support they need or the information they need to understand the importance of the vaccination.
To that end, the city of Toronto will start a $200,000 Vaccination and Immunization Education campaign to enlighten more parents and answer their questions.
The intent of the campaign will be for the public to get familiar with vaccines and to be aware of diseases that could be asymptomatic until the break a parent is exposed.
For parents who are questioning the need for vaccination, Bissonnette advises they should seek out a medical provider.
“Vaccination is a bit of a sticky subject, but it’s best to get it done,” she says.