Ontario excludes thousands of children from schools for lack of vaccination

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 10 May 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f3068
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. 1Montreal

Canada’s most populous province, Ontario, has issued suspension notices to thousands of high school children who lack proof of vaccination in what is becoming an annual enforcement campaign aimed at school age children.

Three Canadian provinces, Ontario, Manitoba, and New Brunswick, have laws that demand vaccination records as a prerequisite for school attendance, as do all 50 US states. Ontario’s law covers vaccination against six diseases: measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, and polio. Discussions are under way to add pertussis and meningococcal disease. Ontario is the only Canadian province to have exercised its power to suspend students.

“It’s an extremely effective approach,” said Bill Sherlock, vaccine coordinator with the Hastings & Prince Edward Counties Health Unit, in southeast Ontario. “You can print all the pamphlets you like, but it doesn’t grab their attention in the same …

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