Ontario Health Units have begun their vaccine record crackdown as part of the enforcement of the Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA). It was put in place to “increase the protection of the health of children against… designated diseases” which are described as “diphtheria, measles, mumps, polio, rubella, tetanus and any other disease prescribed by the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.”
In the case of the London-Middlesex Health Unit, approximately 1,200 students have been suspended for outdated vaccine records and 45,000 letters have gone out threatening the same — in the city of London alone.
The health unit shared that 98% of seven-year-olds in the London area were vaccinated for the measles in 2019. Now, a mere 51% have submitted proof of vaccination for the same; in case you’re wondering how public health has tarnished it’s own reputation throughout the COVID hysteria.
The grandparent of one of those letter recipients is Marion Swain, and she was shocked to find that her grandsons were being threatened with suspension over vaccination records.
To be clear, her grandsons were vaccinated with their routine childhood shots. However, due to a provincial shortage of family doctors, at the time of the seven-year-olds’ shots, Swain’s daughter-in-law had them administered at a walk-in clinic, which has now closed.
And no one can locate the vaccine records.
“When my daughter called the health unit, they were no help at all. They threatened to open a CAS case and suspend the boys for a month or she could get the seven vaccines [the records are missing for] re-done,” Swain shares.
Yet there is no scientific safety data to show that re-injecting an already routinely vaccinated child is safe or effective.
“It potentially could cause harm because there is a history of harm in our family from vaccination,” Swain says. “This nurse at London-Middlesex doesn’t know the family medical history, obviously doesn’t have the medical history of the boys and is just saying ‘oh this is safe, just c’mon down and get them again.’”
When discussing the next steps, Swain says it may be worth seeking an exemption instead of re-injecting, although she has some reservations.
“Apparently, the exemption letter has a clause that you agree that by not vaccinating you could cause harm to the child and others,” says Swain. Parents are also urged to complete a vaccine re-education session as part of the process.
Highlighting how nonsensical this program is, it leaves many wondering how a paper trail changes the apparent safety risk of an unvaccinated, under vaccinated or vaccinated-without-a-paper-trail child?
“It doesn’t change it at all,” says Swain.
Despite this, Swain’s seven-year-old grandson still faces a one-month suspension from school for this offence, a timeline that is delineated by the ISPA but is typically reserved for the most aggressive offenses under the Education Act.
For now, the family has been allotted more time by the health unit as they were able to obtain and submit the younger grandsons’ records.
What is most frustrating for Swain is that this comes on the heels of two years of interruptions with COVID, with health units now arbitrarily suspending children due to missing paper trail.
Yet a mere few months ago Education Minister Stephen Lecce reinforced the importance of children remaining in the classroom amid looming education worker strike action.
Kids have rights, too. They should be in class.
CUPE, cancel this strike. pic.twitter.com/XeGGr6xWdh
— Stephen Lecce (@Sflecce) November 2, 2022
Under the ISPA, non-compliant parents could face up to $1,000 in fines or a 20-day suspension for their children. The act stipulates that it may require a person who operates a school (in other words, a principal) to suspend a pupil. It appears that a Medical Officer of Health (MOH) does not have jurisdiction to directly suspend a student.
In Ontario, only principles can suspend students and it must be done under the Education Act. Twenty days, the longest suspension term, is typically reserved for extremely aggressive acts like violence, bullying, vandalism or drug trafficking.
“I taught for 50 years. I have never seen a suspension [order] that long for some very serious things in schools,” Swain proclaims.
Yet the principle feels forced to comply with the health units demands, according to Swain, who further shares that an acquaintance had a their child suspended for one week despite providing the records, as the records were a day late.
Swain says that the family plans is to see if they can track down the doctor who administered the vaccines, speak to a lawyer so as not to sign a potentially self-incriminating affidavit, and trying to put pressure on politicians.
Moving forward, it appears that all provincial immunization records are being digitally consolidated under the eHEALTH portal called Panorama. It was developed to “support the vision of a provincial immunization system where individuals, health-care providers, and public health all have secure, real-time access to the same immunization information.”