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Ontario Public School Student Vaccinations: What You Need To Know

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When I was growing up in the 1970’s, it was a given that all children received vaccinations to prevent life-threatening diseases such as mumps, measles, and tetanus.

After all, many adults from my parents’ generation had vivid memories of people they knew who didn’t have the chance to be vaccinated for diseases such as polio. These people either died from polio or were affected for the rest of their lives by this horrible disease.

My parents were determined to make sure I was given every vaccine available to ensure that I never contracted any preventable disease. There was never any doubt in their mind they were doing the right thing for me.

Ontario Student Vaccinations

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I still have strong memories from my childhood regarding vaccinations. One memory involves my mother telling me not to worry about getting mumps after a classmate became sick with the disease. I remember feeling scared that I would catch the mumps from my schoolmate. Mum told me I had been vaccinated against this disease and that this would protect me from the mumps. And it did.

I have another memory of an outbreak of Typhoid Fever in my hometown in the mid-1970s. A number of kids fell sick with the disease (a disease that is rare in Canada) and a warning went out to parents about this outbreak. I had been taking swimming lessons at a local pool at the time and, due to the outbreak, they closed down the pool that summer. While this outbreak did not directly affect me, I still remember the fear I felt that this life-threatening disease had affected kids where I lived. I could sense the fear from my parents and the parents of my friends.

Today, there is a lot of controversy surrounding vaccinations. Many parents question whether or not they should vaccinate their children.

For us, there is no question. Vaccinations help protect against illness and outbreaks in communities, and they protect our most precious possessions — our children.


  • Babies in the first two years of life are especially at risk of getting one of many serious childhood diseases that can be prevented through immunization.
  • If too many people delay or refuse vaccines, more cases of serious diseases can be spread. Choosing to vaccinate your child protects them from disease and protects vulnerable children who can’t be vaccinated for medical reasons.
  • Most vaccines need more than one dose over time to produce full protection. That’s why it’s important to follow the immunization schedule—it gives the best protection with the fewest doses of each vaccine.
  • The best thing parents can do is stick to the vaccination schedule available on On the site, there is an easy-to-use immunization scheduler online to help new parents stay on top of their child’s appointments with their doctor.
  • In order to attend school in Ontario, children must be immunized against tetanus, diphtheria, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox (required for children born in or after 2010), meningococcal disease, and whooping-cough (unless they have a valid exemption).
  • Routine vaccinations for babies, children, and adults are offered free of charge in Ontario if you meet the eligibility criteria.
  • Vaccinations make your body stronger and more resistant to disease. No matter how healthy you are, you could get very sick or even die, without vaccines to protect you.
Ontario Public School Student Vaccinations

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When should parents get their school-age children vaccinated?

  • At 4 and 6 years old, children should receive the following vaccines: tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox.
  • In grade 7, children should receive the following vaccines: meningococcal conjugate (Men-C-ACYW), hepatitis b, human papillomavirus (HPV).
  • Between 14 and 16 years old, teens should receive the following vaccines: tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis.

X-Man has been fully vaccinated with all the age-appropriate vaccinations for him. X-Man has lived with many allergies throughout his life, including a life-threatening peanut allergy. The risk of reaction for X-Man has never changed our thoughts on the importance of making sure he is fully vaccinated against all of these horrible diseases.

For us, there is no question. Vaccinations save livesthe lives of our precious children.

Like many things Canadians take for granted, we often forget how lucky we are to have access to vaccinations that help keep our children safe from life-threatening, infectious diseases. So many children around the world don’t have access to vaccines, leaving them extremely vulnerable to these diseases.

Today, we live in a global village. We travel extensively to countries we once never considered visiting.

Countries where life-threatening diseases still exist and continue to take the lives of children.

Life-threatening diseases that are extremely rare here in Canada, brought back by an infected traveler, could infect our children if they are not adequately vaccinated against these diseases.

For those of us in the “sandwich generation,” the importance of vaccinations extends from our children right up to our elderly parents. Without the protection of vaccinations, we leave these important family members extremely vulnerable.

To this day, I continue to make sure I am adequately vaccinated against preventable diseases. I always review my vaccination records with my family doctor during my annual physical exam. This year that meant a tetanus and whooping-cough booster for me.

Please take some time to educate yourself on how vaccines can keep your kids—and you —healthy. Our kids count on us to keep them safe.

For questions or concerns about vaccinations for your child, please be sure to consult your family doctor. You can also visit






This post was developed in association with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. The opinions are my own.

  1. October 21, 2016


    A friend recently proudly confided in me that her six year old had never been vaccinated. Ever. She got an exemption from the school on ideological grounds. Her reasons were the usual conspiracy theories. I was shocked and horrified. I replied with all the arguments I could think of but to no avail. She had done her ‘research’ and I was wrong. The ignorance, selfishness and arrogance of these people is mind boggling.

    • October 27, 2016


      Wow Susanne! That must have been pretty shocking for you. I’m sure this would be especially difficult when it is a friend of yours. It is mind-boggling for sure. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  2. October 18, 2016

    linda cassidy

    thanks for sharing this, so very important. I try not to judge but I cannot understand why people think its ok not to protect their children

    • October 19, 2016


      Thanks Linda! It sure is and I don’t get it either. Personally, I’ve seen too many cases where lack of vaccine resulted in illness. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  3. October 18, 2016

    paula schuck

    TYPHOID!?? Holy smokes! Well we grew up in the same era. I have vivid memories of one of the teacher’s who taught my brother who caught polio and lived but she had a very short lifespan not even sure why really. As you know this topic is near and dear to my heart having just returned from Zambia where I did a fellowship with Shot@Life and saw how important vaccines are there and what some of the physical barriers are to getting life saving vaccines. Vaccines are crucial to children’s health globally. We are beyond blessed to have accessible health care here. It’s shocking to me that some still don’t understand why we need to get vaccinations. It’s a simple thing and has done more for children than any other health development/ advance in 50 years!

    • October 18, 2016


      Yes! Can you imagine, Paula!

      We don’t think we can have these diseases here in Canada, but we can. What an amazing experience you just had. It must have been a real eye-opener to see what vaccinations can do for children in places like Zambia. I’m sure parents there all wish they had the same access to vaccinations that we in Canada are lucky to have. My parents also knew someone with polio. They survived as well but had numerous health problems because of it. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your opinion, Paula!

  4. October 18, 2016


    So glad you posted this Sandy. Excellent write up and good information.

    • October 18, 2016


      Thank you very much, Christina! There is a lot of good, and important info in the links I posted. I hope people read them too. Appreciate you stopping by!

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