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Hastings and Prince Edward students suspended over missing immunization records

By Stelios Pappas  [1]

BELLEVILLE – Hundreds of local students have been suspended from school in the last two days for not having their immunization records updated.

Bill Sherlock, program manager at Hastings-Prince Edward Public Health [2], told QNet News Thursday that between 500 and 600 students in Hastings and Prince Edward counties did not have updated records. Those students were suspended from school as of Thursday until the information is updated.

It was reported early Friday morning by InQuinte [3] that the records for 313 students still hadn’t been updated.

But the number of students suspended is much smaller than the number of notices sent out earlier this year by the public health board notifying students that their immunization records needed to be updated. A total of 4,400 notices were sent out.

Sherlock told QNet that the situation isn’t anything new.

“Part of the problem is that you’re busy. This gets pushed backed. People think they have months because the suspension date is in April,” he said.

“This happens every year. Hastings-Prince Edward Public Health, as well other health units around the province, send out notices every year. They issue notices to students when they’re overdue for their immunization,” Sherlock explained.

This does not mean students were not vaccinated, however. Students need to get immunization against several viruses, including tetanus, polio and measles, and sometimes updating the records take time.

“It’s not necessarily students need shots. Sometimes they get it done by their family doctor and the paperwork gets lost in translation, or we don’t get it right away. It’s the parents’ responsibility to update public health,” said Sherlock.

“It gets better and better every time we send out a notice and we offer clinics to sort this out,” Sherlock said. The health unit is holding immunization clinics in Belleville, Trenton, Madoc and Bancroft Friday to quickly resolve students needing record-updating assistance.

“If you keep the immunization rates high there are fewer breakout infections,” said Sherlock.