Toronto Public Health says that it has assessed the immunization records of more than 300,000 public school students so far this school year and has determined that nearly a third of them were not up to date.
Associate Medical Officer of Health Vinita Dubey told CP24 on Wednesday that staff in her office have examined the immunization records of 322,375 public school students as part of an annual process that began in July and remains ongoing.
She said that the records of about 104,000 students (32 per cent) were determined to be not up to date and notices were sent out to parents advising them of that fact. She said that a second notice then had to be sent to the parents of about 56,000 of those students, who did not comply with the initial notice.
About 23,000 students were then threatened with suspensions as a result of their immunization records but Dubey said that only 8,548 suspensions have actually been issued so far.
“Suspension orders are continuing to go out until all student records have been fully assessed,” she said in a written statement provided to CP24. “TPH will continue to work with schools to assist principals get their students’ immunization records up to date and offers community clinics for students who don’t have a family doctor or a health card.”
Dubey said that TPH has already reviewed the immunization records of all public high school students in the city as well as elementary students in the Toronto Catholic District School Board and the various French school boards.
Meanwhile, she said that a review of all records belonging to elementary school students within the Toronto District School Board commenced in January and is ongoing.
News of the reviews come one day after TPH said that it is aware of a confirmed case of measles in an unvaccinated infant who became ill after returning from a trip abroad.
Though home grown cases of measles in Canada were eradicated back in 1998, the virus is occasionally found in people who return to the country following an international trip.
“We are heading into travel season, so travellers are at risk for getting measles and we are asking that travellers check to make sure that they are up to date with their vaccinations before they leave,” Dubey told CP24 on Tuesday. “In particular parents travelling with infants who are six to nine months of age should consider getting a MMR vaccine early before they leave.”