As the new school year kicks off today for many students, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health is urging parents to have their kids immunized. Doctor David Williams says an outbreak could be tragic for students who aren’t protected with vaccinations, and it’s important to know which students could be at risk, and who poses a potential risk if there is an outbreak spreading throughout the classroom.

The Porcupine Health Unit is required to keep track of all immunization records at our local schools. Williams says that means it’s essential your kids records are up to date. That way, if there is an outbreak, kids who are susceptible will have to be excluded from school until the outbreak is over, which could take two to three weeks. Williams says Ontario law requires parents to vaccinate their kids against a variety of diseases, unless there is a valid exemption.

Williams also notes that choosing not to vaccinate your children is rolling the dice. He says you don’t know how effective your child’s immune system is, and an infection could be mild, or could require hospitalization.

He also makes note of a proposed legislation, which would require parents who choose not to vaccinate their kids to take an education session from the health unit.