COVID-19 - Get vaccinated and find public health advice for residents and businesses.

Exemption from Child Care and School Vaccinations

Children and youth are not required to get a COVID-19 vaccine to attend school, so there is not an exemption process for the COVID-19 vaccine. Eligible children and youth are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated.

The process for completing the Immunization of School Pupils Act immunization education video session has resumed at Niagara Region Public Health.

A valid exemption is required to exempt your child from child care or school vaccinations.

The forms and steps to get a valid exemption affidavit is not the same for children attending child care and school. Make sure you follow the correct process for your child.

Why vaccinate

  • Infectious diseases can spread among those who are not vaccinated. You can keep your children healthy with routine health care and up-to-date vaccinations for vaccine-preventable diseases.
  • Infection from certain diseases can lead to serious, and sometimes fatal, outcomes. Vaccines use weakened or killed virus or bacteria to trigger a natural immune response and provide long-term protection against a disease without the risk of getting the disease.
  • We're here to help you make sense of vaccines. If you're unsure about vaccinating your child, we can help answer any questions and discuss your concerns.

For more information, talk to one of our nurses.

Risks and responsibilities of not vaccinating

  • Understand the risks and responsibilities of not vaccinating your child
  • Learn about each vaccine preventable disease, how they are spread, complications, and signs and symptoms so you know when to get urgent help for your child
  • Consider other possible implications.
    • Some volunteer applications may request proof of vaccination
    • Students will need to check admission requirements for college and university programs to see if up-to-date vaccinations are required, such as medical, child and youth care, education placements or practicum courses.

Exemption information

  • Statement of conscience or religious belief affidavit - child care process

    1. Download and complete the appropriate form. Have it signed and stamped by a commissioner of oaths or call Public Health to have one mailed to you.

    2. Keep a copy of the signed form for your personal records

    3. Submit the original form

    • Provide the completed affidavit to your licensed child care operator. The child care operator will forward a copy to Public Health.
    • Public Health will update your child's immunization record on file to capture the exemption information until a new exemption form is required.
    • During an outbreak of a vaccine preventable disease, children with exemptions cannot attend child care for the duration of the outbreak or until they are fully vaccinated; whichever comes first
  • Statement of conscience or religious belief affidavit - school process

    1. Complete a video education session for children attending school and under 18 years of age. The video covers:

    • Basic information about vaccination
    • Vaccine safety
    • How immunization affects overall public health
    • Immunization law in Ontario

    2. Download and complete the appropriate form. Have it signed and stamped by a commissioner of oaths or call Public Health to have one mailed to you.

    3. Keep a copy of the signed form for your personal records

    4. Submit the original form. Mail the completed form to Public Health or email / fax an original copy, if mailing is not possible.

    5. A public health nurse will follow up with you by telephone to confirm that you have watched the vaccine education video and to answer any other questions you may have.

    • Public Health will provide you with a signed and dated Vaccine Education Certificate after receiving confirmation that you have watched the video
    • Public Health will update your child's immunization record on file to capture the exemption information and your child will no longer risk suspension from school
    • During an outbreak of a vaccine preventable disease, children with exemptions cannot attend school for the duration of the outbreak or until they are fully vaccinated; whichever comes first
  • Statement of medical exemption

    Sometimes there is evidence a child is immune to a disease, making further vaccination unnecessary. Other times, a medical condition may prevent a child from receiving a vaccination.

    The most important thing you can do to protect children who can't get vaccinated is to make sure the people surrounding them are up-to-date with their vaccinations.

    How to get a medical exemption

    1. Download the appropriate form or call Public Health to have one mailed to you

    Child care

    School

    2. Have a physician or nurse practitioner complete the form

    3. Keep a copy for your personal records

    4. Submit the original completed medical exemption form to the appropriate location:

    • If your child is in child care, you will need to give the exemption form to your licensed child care operator. Licensed child care operators send a copy to Public Health so we can maintain a record on file for your child.
    • If your child is in school, mail the exemption form to Public Health
  • Commissioner of oaths

    A commissioner of oaths is a person authorized to take your oath or solemn affirmation when you sign an affidavit or a statutory declaration. 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, licensed paralegals
    • MPs, MPPs
    • Police chiefs
    • Some staff at the Service Ontario, Government Information Centre are commissioners

    Some commissioners will provide the service at no cost, while others may charge a fee. Multiple pieces of photo identification may also be required.

    Call your local municipality to find out if the service is available, if there's a cost, and if an appointment is necessary.

  • When a new exemption form is required

    A new exemption form is needed when:

    • Your child leaves child care to start school. If an exemption form was submitted to Public Health for your child while attending a licensed childcare facility, a new and updated exemption form is required when your child enters a school in Ontario. Follow the exemption process for children attending school.
    • You move to another public health unit area. Some public health units may require a new exemption form. Check with your new local public health unit to learn more.

    A new exemption form is not needed when:

    • You have submitted an exemption form for a child in school. You don't need to resubmit any additional exemption forms for that child in subsequent years.
    • Your child changes child care facilities or moves from one school to another. Child care exemptions last until your child starts school. School exemptions last until your child is 18.
  • Cancelling an exemption

    If a medical exemption no longer applies, or if you changed your mind and want to get your child vaccinated, contact us and we will help you with a catch up schedule for your child.

Contact

Send completed forms by mail, email or fax to Public Health at:

Vaccine Preventable Disease Program
c/o Niagara Region Public Health
P.O. Box 1052, Station Main
Thorold, ON L2V 0A2
Fax 905-688-8225
Email vpd@niagararegion.ca

By emailing this information, you are aware that communications by email are not secure and / or protected. There is a possibility that information included in the email can be intercepted in transmission or misdirected. Niagara Region Public Health cannot guarantee security with emails. Niagara Region Public Health will not send emails that include personal health information.

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