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Middlesex-London Health Unit

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2020-2021 Grade 7 Immunization Program

All Grade 7 students have the opportunity to receive three types of vaccines at no cost. The vaccines are conveniently provided at school by the Health Unit to those students with parent/legal guardian consent. Other options are available for students who are unable or prefer not to receive vaccines at school. 

  • Hepatitis B (Engerix/Recombivax)
  • Meningococcal ACYW-135 (Menactra/Nimenrix)
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV) (Gardasil-9)
 

Information about the vaccines

The Health Unit strongly recommends that you read about these vaccines, the diseases they prevent and clinic details, to consider protection for your student with all three types of vaccine. Download and read the Vaccine Information for Grade 7 School Clinics (PDF).

Hepatitis B Vaccine
Hepatitis B immunization is voluntary. Two doses of hepatitis B vaccine will be given. The first dose will be given at school in the fall and the second dose will be given 4-6 months later.

Meningococcal ACYW-135 Vaccine
The Meningococcal ACYW-135 vaccine is a mandatory immunization in Ontario. This vaccine only requires one dose that will be offered to students at the first visit by the nurses.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine
Since 2007, female students in Grade 8 have been offered free vaccination against human papillomavirus with the HPV vaccine. In 2017, male students became eligible as well (ie. those born in 2005 or after).

Two doses of HPV9 vaccine will be given. The first dose will be given at school in the fall and the second dose will be given 6 months later.


School clinics

Public Health Nurses from the Health Unit's Vaccine Preventable Disease Team visit elementary schools in London and Middlesex-County to provide Grade 7 students the opportunity to received Hepatitis B, Meningococcal-ACYW-135 and HPV vaccines at school. Vaccines are only administered in elementary schools to students whose legal guardians have provided consent. The Health Unit asks that guardians:  

When a student has been vaccinated at school, a note from the nurse will be sent home so their guardian can keep a record of the immunization..


Important information for Grade 8 students

The Health Unit provided the first doses the Grade 7 vaccines (with legal guardian consent) to current Grade 8 students in the fall of 2019. The second doses of the Hepatitis B and HPV vaccines were scheduled to be given during spring clinics at your child's school. However, the Health Unit was unable to provide these school-based clinics due to school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Consent forms remain on file and will be used to catch up Grade 8 students at school clinics in the fall of 2020. If your student received doses at their primary care provider's office (i.e. family doctor, pediatrician, walk-in clinic, nurse practitioner), please report these to the Health Unit to avoid additional and unnecessary doses are not given at school.  


Grade 7 remote/online learners

To ensure students and our communities remain safe from vaccine preventable diseases, it is important that immunizations remain accessible to all students. While Grade 7 school clinics are not open to remote/online learners, two other options are available

1. Book an appointment in one of our Health Unit immunization clinics. 

  • Students are welcome to receive Grade 7 vaccines at one of our Health Unit locations. Appointments are required and precautions are in place to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 during your visit.

Request an Appointment Online

2. If you prefer that your Grade 7 student receive these vaccines with their primary care provider (i.e. family doctor, pediatrician, nurse practitioner), please note the following:

  • Primary care providers may not currently be offering or have these vaccines on-site. Please ask your primary care provider when booking an appointment.
  • Parents/guardians are asked to report all vaccines given at healthcare provider offices to the Health Unit. Report your child’s immunizations here.

Preparing your student for clinic day

Your child may be feeling anxious about getting needles at school. The Public Health Nurses work to minimize anxiety and use techniques to decrease pain, in order to help the student through the vaccination process.
Here are some ways for you to help your child prepare for the clinic day:

  • Make sure your child eats a good breakfast, and brings a healthy lunch to school
  • Have them wear a short sleeve shirt so that it is easy to get at the upper arm where the needle will be given. Also, heavy sweaters and longer sleeve shirts can make them hot and possibly more anxious
  • Tell your child to use techniques to reduce possible pain and anxiety
  • Wiggle their toes during the immunization
  • Fully relax their arm during immunization
  • Take slow and deep breaths
  • Close their eyes and count
  • Talk to the nurse or to a friend for distraction
  • Hold and squeeze something in their hand

Anxiousness about medical procedures, with resulting fainting, happens occasionally in this age group, particularly in females.2 Fainting after vaccines is a symptom of anxiety, not a side effect from a vaccine. After leaving the clinic it is important for students to stay with a buddy in the halls, and be careful on stairs. Students should not leave the school for at least 15 minutes. It is important that they return to the clinic area with their buddy if they are feeling unwell. If students appear pale, sweaty, or worried, they will be asked to stay with the nurses at the clinic and lie on a mat. The nurses are there to give medical attention to students as necessary. It is very important that students tell the nurses when they feel unwell after vaccines. 


Frequently Asked Questions

What if I cannot receive the vaccinations on the day of the school clinic?

  • If you miss vaccines, the Public Health Nurses will call the student down the next time they are in the school. Consents are valid until all doses are given, including in Grade 8, ensuring adequate protection for the student.
  • Alternatively, the student can come to the Middlesex-London Health Unit Immunization Clinic to be immunized. Clinics are available at both the 355 Wellington St. (London) and Kenwick Mall (Strathroy) locations.

Can a student go to their doctor or nurse practitioner to receive the vaccines?

  • All three types of vaccines may be available at your healthcare provider’s office. Call ahead to make sure they have them in stock. They can order doses from the Health Unit for students who miss the vaccines at school.
  • Students are eligible for Meningococcal ACYW-135 at any time after beginning grade 7. Hepatitis B vaccine remains publicly funded only throughout grade 7 and 8. HPV vaccine is available until the end of the high school for those who were eligible in grade 7.

What if my student has had one of these vaccines before?

  • Write down the dates the previous doses were given on the consent. By signing the consent, the nurse will assess and see if more doses are required for proper scheduling of the vaccines. These doses can be given at the school clinic.

Can a Grade 7 student consent for the vaccine on their own?

  • In Ontario, a person does not have to be a certain age in order to be considered capable of providing consent. Parents are encouraged to discuss the information with their son/daughter. In most cases an adolescent can consent to the vaccine on their own. However, the Health Unit does prefer to have a parent’s consent when working in elementary schools.
  • There may be times when a parent wants a student to be immunized but the student does not want to be vaccinated. Health Unit staff will help with distraction and encouragement but will not hold children down in a school clinic. In some cases, it may be easier for the student to go to a health care provider with a parent to receive the vaccines.

Are these vaccines mandatory?

  • Under the Immunization of School Pupil’s Act (ISPA, amended in 2014), the only grade 7 vaccine that is mandatory is the Meningococcal ACYW-135. Your student needs to have one dose of this vaccine, or an exemption affidavit completed, to avoid suspension from school in the future. Other Meningococcal vaccines do not count towards this requirement.
  • Hepatitis B and HPV vaccines are not mandatory, but are highly recommended for this age group.

Where is the needle given?

  • These vaccines are given in the deltoid muscle (upper outer arm area). When three vaccines are given on the same day, one deltoid will be the site for one vaccine and the other deltoid will be the site for two vaccines. Please wear a short sleeved shirt on the day of the clinic.

Should I get the Meningococcal ACYW-135 vaccine if I was vaccinated with meningococcal vaccine as a baby?

  • Yes. According to the law, children receive a Meningococcal-C vaccine at age one, and then also require this different Meningococcal vaccine in grade 7.
 
Date of creation: March 4, 2013
Last modified on: December 9, 2020

References

1Public Health Agency of Canada: Canadian Immunization Guide, Evergreen Edition (2013) Retrieved from
http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/publicat/cig-gci/index-eng.php
2Information from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Retrieved from
http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/Concerns/syncope.html