Important Information When Not Vaccinating Your Child
Choosing not to vaccinate is not just about your child - your family, your child's friends, their families, and the residents of Niagara can all be affected by your decision not to vaccinate your child or yourself.
If you do not vaccinate your child, please consider the following:
If your child is sick and needs medical attention, you must tell any health care provider your child sees that they have not received vaccinations (such as family doctor, walk-in clinic, hospital, ambulance, dentist)
Other children and adults who cannot receive vaccines could be exposed to a highly contagious disease and become deathly ill (such as someone with cancer, a weakened immune system, pregnant women)
Your child cannot go to school or daycare and may not be able to attend other activities, such as playgroups or sports, in the event of a community outbreak
Depending on how the disease spreads, it may not be possible to avoid exposure. For example, the measles virus remains on surfaces and in the air for up to two hours. An unvaccinated person could get measles just by entering the room.
If you plan to travel outside of Canada, you put your child at greater risk of getting vaccine preventable diseases
Just because you may not hear about cases of vaccine preventable diseases in Canada, outbreaks do happen. Due to international travel, these diseases are now only a plane ride away.
Students who do volunteer work or go to summer camps usually need an up-to-date immunization record. Without up-to-date immunizations, they may not be able to participate in these activities.
Students entering a college / university program for a career that deals with the public (such as medical, education, police) are required to have an up-to-date immunization record. Students who do not have this may not be able to register for their program.
It's okay for you or your child to change your mind later and receive their complete set of vaccinations. The series may take a few months, or even a few years to complete.
If you choose not to vaccinate your child for medical, religious or conscience reasons, you must provide one of the following exemptions:
Mandatory documents now include a Vaccine Education Certificate. The Vaccine Education Certificate is obtained once you have watched a mandatory vaccine education module, available at your local public health office.
Parents who are considering a non-medical vaccine exemption, the Immunization of School Pupils Act requires you to have proper documents on file with Niagara Region Public Health.
Process to Obtain a Statement of Conscience or Religious Belief Affidavit:
Call Niagara Region Public Health at 905-688-3762 or 1-800-263-7248 ext.7425 to book your mandatory education session with a public health nurse
Complete the session with the nurse and watch the mandatory vaccine education module to obtain a Vaccine Education Certificate and a Statement of Conscience or Religious Belief Affidavit
Complete the form and have it signed and stamped by a Commissioner of Oath, Notary Public, or Justice of the Peace
A Commissioner of Oath is available at Niagara Region Headquarters by appointment only. To make an appointment, call 905-685-4225 ext. 3224. This is a free service. Parent / legal guardian will be required to provide valid photo identification.
Local municipalities may also provide this service, however they may charge a fee. Call ahead in the event an appointment is required.
Return the original exemption form by mail or in-person to Niagara Region Public Health, Vaccine Preventable Disease, along with a copy of your Vaccine Education Certificate
Main Office Location
Niagara Region Public Health 1815 Sir Isaac Brock Way, Campbell East, Thorold
Monday - Friday from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Vaccine Preventable Disease Program
c/o Niagara Region Public Health
P.O. Box 1052, Station Main
Thorold, ON L2V 0A2
A copy of these documents will be attached to your child / children's electronic immunization record at Niagara Region Public Health; however, it is your responsibility to keep copies of these documents
Once the completed forms are on file with Niagara Region Public Health, that child will no longer risk suspension from school. However, in the event of a community outbreak of a vaccine preventable disease, the child may not be able to go to school until the outbreak is declared over.
This must be done to make every effort possible to protect unvaccinated children from getting a disease their immune system may not be able to fight.
Commissioner of Oaths
A Commissioner of Oath is a person authorized to take your oath or solemn affirmation when you sign an affidavit or a statutory declaration. Please note we do not offer notary services.
Commissioners of Oaths are: Regional Clerk or Deputy Regional Clerk; City Clerk or Deputy Clerk; Treasurers or Deputy Treasurers of municipalities; Justices of the Peace (for items of a legal nature); Lawyers; Member of Parliament; Member of Provincial Parliament; Licensed Paralegals; Police Chiefs; some staff at the Service Ontario, Government Information Centre are Commissioners
Some Commissioners will provide the service at no cost, others may charge a fee
Multiple pieces of photo identification may also be required
The client should call to confirm the times that this service is available, if there is a cost before going, and if an appointment is necessary.