Dear Principals,

 Public Health’s main focus in the schools is the mandated service of immunizations.  The grade years that we usually concentrate on are: K, Grade 1, Grade 6, and Grade 9.   It was just this past  summer that we changed from immunizing in grade 5 to grade 6.  Because of this new change this year is a “gap” year.  Obviously the grade 5s from last year are now in grade 6 and we wouldn’t re-immunize them!  Therefore this is a year where we can go through all the students in all the grades and catch up the students who are behind with vaccines.  I have now completed the vaccine assessments for all the students in your schools.  Students that are overdue have either been invited to a vaccine clinic, issued consents, or sent refusal letters (if the parents have indicated that they do not wish to give their child the vaccines).

 Our recent outbreaks in the last few years of Measles, Mumps and Pertussis (Whooping Cough)  show us the importance of maintaining high levels of vaccine uptake in the community. 

 This year a new letter has been provided to public health nurses for us to send to families who either decline measles vaccine, or have not provided us with the child’s vaccine dates.  It states, “The Public Health Act (Government of Alberta) says that if anyone in your child’s school or daycare gets measles, all those who are not protected against measles will not be allowed to attend.  Your child will not be allowed to attend school or daycare from the time the first person is diagnosed until 21 days after the last time that your child was in contact with anyone that got measles.  If several children get measles, this means your child may not be able to attend daycare or school for many weeks.”

 In regards to your staff I would like to remind you that ALL adults 18 years of age and older are eligible to receive a free dose of vaccine called dTap.  It contains protection for Diphtheria, Pertussis and Tetanus.  Also, any staff born in 1970 or later should have two documented doses of MMR vaccine.  This has protection for Measles, Mumps and Rubella (German Measles).  Any staff born between 1957 and 1969 who do not have a documented dose of MMR are eligible for 1 free MMR (because they are eligible for the rubella component of the MMR).   People may be eligible for other vaccines depending on age, chronic illnesses etc.  If your staff are up to date with their vaccines that makes your school less vulnerable to outbreaks that occur.   Some vaccine preventable diseases carry mandatory quarantine days for unimmunized staff once the disease is diagnosed in one of your students.    Please encourage your staff to call our booking desk, at 403.502.8214 to ensure that they are up to date with eligible vaccines.  If they wish to do some vaccine research two excellent websites are: and

 If you would like me to attend a staff meeting to discuss vaccines I am able to do that.

 Jo-Ann Reister, R.N. BScN.

Public Health Nurse

Alberta Health Services, Community Health

2948 Dunmore Road SE

Medicine Hat, AB  T1A 8E3

Phone:  403-502-8308    Fax:  403-528-2250

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