It’s that time of year again, you know “the most wonderful time of the year” as one commercial has coined it. What are we talking about? Back-to-school of course! And, families all over Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph just like yours are busy with final preparations as we all determine what needs to make it to school alongside our kids in those backpacks.
What you may not know is that back-to-school is a busy time here at Public Health too, particularly for our nurses on the Vaccine-Preventable Disease team. As parents prep their kids, and teachers prep their classrooms, we’re prepping for our annual grade 7 in-school immunization clinics.
If a child of yours has been in grade 7 or grade 8, you may be familiar with the immunization consent forms that arrive home shortly after the school year begins. If your child is just entering grade 7 this year, then this is an early heads-up to keep an eye out for this form in your child’s backpack!
This year, all three vaccines will be offered in grade 7 clinics which is a change from years past when HPV was administered separately in grade 8. Another new change is that, beginning this year, Gardasil, the HPV vaccine will be offered to both girls and boys in grade 7 for free.
What does this mean for my child?
If you have a son or daughter starting grade 7 this year, the HPV vaccine will be given for free by one of our public health nurses as long as guardian consent is received.
Most students will receive two doses of the HPV vaccine six months apart. However, if your child receives their first dose after the age of 14, or if they have a weakened immune system, three doses over a six-month period are necessary.
What if my daughter is entering grade 8 this year? Does she miss her HPV vaccines?
If your daughter is starting grade 8 this school year (2016-2017) she will still be able to receive the appropriate HPV vaccine doses through the public health in-school clinics.
What is HPV?
HPV is a common virus that can lead to cervical, penile and genital cancers, and genital warts. The vaccine is offered to children at a young age because it is most effective when given before an individual becomes sexually active. The Gardasil vaccine is the most effective way to protect your son or daughter from an HPV infection.
So, this year if you have a child in grade 7, we encourage you to be on the lookout for your child’s immunization consent form. Signing it will protect them from HPV in addition to meningococcal disease and hepatitis B.
Need to update your child’s immunization record with Public Health?
Immunizations given by Public Health will be automatically reported, like the ones administered at school clinics. However, vaccines not given by Public Health still need to be reported. Reporting vaccinations is easy. Simply visit immunizewdg.ca to report online.