Public Health Update – School-age Immunization Program

November 5, 2015 - 5 minutes read

In order to help students receive the routine BC Immunization Schedule, Vancouver Coastal Health
(VCH) will be holding immunization clinics in the school setting for kindergarten, grade 6 and grade 9
students. In addition to routine vaccines for each age group, we will also offer catch up vaccines to
students that missed a vaccine at a younger age. Kindergarten clinics will be held in the spring alongside
the second grade 6 clinics if there is an identified need; however, we strongly recommend current
kindergarten students be immunized upon entry to school or soon after. Throughout the school year
VCH is also holding weekly booked and drop-in in clinics for any children ages 2 months – 19 years.
Please call 604-983-6700 for more information.

Recent changes to the publicly funded program include the following:
• The Ministry of Health has announced a new HPV vaccine program available for males who are
at increased risk of HPV infection including boys and young men from 9-26 who are gay or who
may be questioning their sexual identity. As heterosexual boys are likely to be protected
through routine immunization of girls, this program aims to protect boys who remain otherwise
unprotected. More information can be found here.

• Hepatitis A vaccine is funded for all Aboriginal persons 6 months to 18 years of age. Two doses are
recommended 6 months apart.

If you think your child is eligible for either of these vaccines, please contact the school’s public health
nurse who can make arrangements to immunize at a location that is most comfortable (public health
unit, youth clinic or a school immunization clinic).

It is important to keep your child’s records up-to-date. Always obtain and keep a record of any
vaccination given. This is especially important if:

• There is a disease outbreak
• You are travelling to other provinces or countries
• When applying to Colleges or Universities

  • Please submit your child’s record if requested from VCH public health by:
    • Leaving it at the school office
    • Faxing
    If you are not sure if you have submitted your child’s immunization record or have any questions, please
    call the Public Health Nurse on call at 604-983-6714.Office of the Medical Health Officer
    Vancouver Coastal Health – North Shore
    5th floor – 132 West Esplanade
    North Vancouver, BC V7M 1A2

    Influenza Season
    Flu season is upon us. Although flu vaccine is recommended for everybody, individuals under age 5 and
    over 65, pregnant women and those with certain chronic health conditions are at high risk for influenza
    infection and complications. All of these high risk groups are eligible for free flu vaccine, including those
    who interact regularly with these high risk groups.

    This year’s flu shot will give you protection against three strains of influenza viruses specified by the
    World Health Organization: A/California/7/2009 (h1N1)pdm09-like virus, A/Switzerland/9715293/2013
    (h3N2)-like virus, B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus (Yamagata lineage).
    Children will also be protected against a fourth strain – B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus. Help fight the flu
    and protect those around you by getting a flu shot available now through public health, physicians, and

    For more information please visit the Immunization BC website.

    Additional recommended vaccines that require purchase
    There are other excellent vaccines recommended by public health and paediatric experts. You can buy
    these at most travel clinics or at a pharmacy with a doctor’s prescription. Some are available through
    public health clinics. Many private drug benefit plans also cover vaccines; please check your plan for

    • HPV vaccine for heterosexual boys. While vaccine is not funded yet for these young men, to
    ensure protection, we recommend that you purchase the vaccine.
    • Meningococcal vaccine that protects against the B strain (Bexsero®) as the public health
    program offers a vaccine that protects against only one strain (Men C).
    • Meningococcal vaccine that protects against four strains (Men A, C, Y, W-135).
    • You should receive travel vaccines for most destinations outside Canada, the USA, and Western
    Europe. Please contact a Travel Clinic for more information if you will be travelling.
    Wishing you and your families a safe and healthy school year.

Mark Lysyshyn, MD, MPH, FRCPC
Medical Health Officer, North Shore
Vancouver Coastal Health