Children and Youth Immunization Records
Vaccine preventable diseases can have severe impact - they can make even a previously healthy child very sick. Vaccines help keep all children safe, protecting their long-term health and well-being.
Requirements for children
Laws in Ontario
By law in Ontario, Public Health must have an up-to-date immunization record or valid exemption on file for each child attending a licensed child care centre, licensed home child care agency Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 or school Immunization of School Pupils Act.
These laws require reporting one's choice. One choice is to stay up to date with the recommended vaccinations and report these vaccinations to Public Health. The "Required vaccinations" chart shows which diseases your child will be protected from. The other choice is to get an exemption.
Niagara Region Public Health is reviewing immunization records and exemptions for all school age children during the 2023-2024 school year. You will not be contacted if we have an up-to-date immunization record or valid exemption on file for your child.
These laws are important to protect our communities from diseases.
In the event of an outbreak, Public Health relies on complete immunization records to quickly identify who is at risk. These children can then be notified and excluded from child care or school for their protection until the risk of infection is over. In Niagara, this was done in 2015 for measles and 2017 for mumps.
Additional benefits to children and their families:
- An up-to-date immunization record may be needed for
- Attending summer camp
- Travelling out of the country
- Applying for college or university
- Certain occupations or co-op placements
- Receiving medical treatment
- If you lose your child's personal immunization record (yellow card), you can request your records online using Immunization Connect
- Checking immunization records
You can check to see if your child has the vaccinations they need to attend child care or school by:
- Comparing their personal immunization record (yellow card) to the "required vaccinations" chart
- Asking your health care provider
- Request your records online using Immunization Connect
- Getting vaccinated
Your child's vaccines are based on a routine schedule starting at two months of age. When following the routine schedule, timing matters. It is designed to protect your child when they are most at risk for those diseases. A delay or gap leaves your child at high risk of infection.
The schedule does give optimal age ranges for your child to receive a vaccine. For example, the adolescent Tdap (tetanus / diphtheria / pertussis) booster is indicated between 14 to 16 years of age.
This means if they get their four to six year booster at four years of age, they become due for their adolescent booster 10 years later at 14 years of age. If you have any questions, contact the vaccine team.
Learn about where to get vaccinated. If your child gets anxious or nervous about vaccination, see “Preparing your child for their vaccination”.
- Exemption process
Information about legal exemptions (medical, religious or philosophical).
If you received an immunization reminder notice
If you received a reminder notice from Niagara Region Public Health, it means we are missing vaccination information from you. Select the drop down option(s) that apply to you for next steps.
- If you need to update your immunization record
You may have received all the required vaccinations, but Public Health does not have this information on file. Immunization records are not automatically provided to us. Report any vaccines received from a health care provider.
If you are unsure if your immunization record is up-to-date, contact your health care provider. Report any vaccines received to Public Health through Immunization Connect.
- If you need to get vaccinated
Take both the notice and the immunization record that came with it to your health care provider appointment.
In some cases, it may seem like we are asking you for a vaccine that has already been given. However, it is important to know that:
- Some vaccines require more than one dose
- A vaccine may have been given too early
- The meningococcal conjugate vaccine given at one year of age is not the same as the meningococcal conjugate vaccine given in Grade 7
- If the four to six year old booster is not received at this age, the child will then be overdue for this vaccine once they turn seven years of age
- The teenage tetanus / diphtheria / pertussis booster is due 10 years after the school entry booster. For more details, see the "Getting vaccinated" section.
Find out where to get vaccinated.
- If your school or birthdate is incorrect
Check the school name and date of birth on your notice. If incorrect, update and return the notice to us.
- If your exemption has expired or you need to complete a valid exemption
If you previously submitted an exemption form to Public Health for your child when they attended a licensed childcare facility, it's no longer valid. You will now need to follow the exemption process for children attending school.
Learn how to complete legal exemptions (medical, religious or philosophical).
- If your immunization record was blank
If the notice you were sent contained a blank immunization record, it means Public Health does not have any vaccination on file for you. Contact your health care provider to find out if you need to get vaccinated. Report vaccinations that have already been received through
Preparing your child for their vaccination
The CARD system
Learn how you can play your CARDs during your child's vaccination. Help your child choose what CARDs they want to play to reduce the pain, stress, and worry about getting a needle. You can also help your child use CARD to cope with stressful situations. Help your child cope with anxiety or give them the CARD system for coping with their fears and anxiety.
How to talk to your child
A parent / legal guardian's words and actions can influence how well children cope during vaccination.
Toddlers and preschoolers may be told they will be getting a needle just before getting the vaccine. School-aged children may be told at home that they will be getting a needle. Use the CARD system to provide a more positive vaccination experience for both you and your child.
Answer the question:
- Why do I need a vaccine? with "To keep you and those around you healthy and safe."
- What will happen? with "We can ask the doctor / nurse to let you know what they are doing and when."
- How will it feel? with "You might feel a poke or a small pinch that will last a few seconds."
After the vaccination, tell your child that they did well. Positive recognition and rewards after the procedure, such as stickers, help a child feel good about the skills they learned during the procedure.
If your child finds needles painful
If your child finds needles painful, you may wish to apply a topical anesthetic before going to the clinic to numb the area. No prescription is needed.
Topical anesthetics are available at a pharmacy. Follow the directions on the package to know where and when it should be applied. For example, 30 minutes to one hour before the scheduled appointment.
Fainting from needles
Fainting is more common in those with needle fear. But not everyone who faints due to needles is afraid of them. And not everyone who is afraid of needles will faint.
How to hold your child
Different comfort positions are available that help your child feel secure and stay still during vaccination.
Strongly recommended vaccinations
In addition to the required vaccinations, Public Health strongly recommends:
- COVID-19 vaccine (everyone six months of age and older are recommended to receive the XBB COVID-19 vaccine this fall as long as it has been six months since they were last vaccinated or infected with COVID-19)
- Annual flu vaccine (for children six months of age and older)
- Hepatitis B and Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine (for Grade 7 students)
Reporting to Public Health
Parents / legal guardians and students 16 years of age and older are responsible for reporting vaccines directly to Public Health. Health care providers do not do this for you.
To report each vaccination, you can:
- Submit updates to Immunization Connect
- Call 905-688-8248 or 1-888-505-6074 ext. 7425
- Fax your personal immunization record (yellow card) to 905-688-8225
- Mail a copy of your personal immunization record (yellow card) to P.O. Box 1052, Station Main, Thorold, ON L2V 0A2. Write "Attention VPD" on the envelope.
- Drop off a copy of your personal immunization record (yellow card) in a sealed envelope at a Public Health office between 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Write "Attention VPD" on the envelope.