Parents may face fines for not vaccinating kids at Ontario daycare centre

A backlash of frustration and outrage has risen in Ontario in the wake of a denial of access to the flu vaccine, after parents were turned away at daycare centres because they were not…

Parents may face fines for not vaccinating kids at Ontario daycare centre

A backlash of frustration and outrage has risen in Ontario in the wake of a denial of access to the flu vaccine, after parents were turned away at daycare centres because they were not yet up to date on vaccination schedules. As the Globe and Mail reports, Public Health Ontario declared last Friday that a “contingency” is necessary to keep the flu circulating and infecting schools and clinics, because many kindergarten students aren’t vaccinated against the disease.

Only 19 per cent of eligible three-year-olds in Ontario are immunized against the flu, according to the government’s data. A similar figure for school-aged children is 30 per cent. Burt Seilentz, the director of influenza and surveillance for Public Health Ontario, said that parents were approached at a school-based flu clinic and given seven days to do so, but weren’t getting around to getting their kids immunized before the season starts. “The pushback is significant,” said Seilentz. “The number one thing we need to do this year is to control the spread of the flu.”

News of the move incensed parents, many of whom questioned why vaccination wasn’t mandatory under Ontario’s Public Health Act. The vaccine is given free of charge at Public Health Ontario clinics. It’s recommended for three-year-olds every year. “Being compliant with the law is not mandatory — it is recommended that you vaccinate your children and children with your friends,” Katia Taverne, who has three children in the school system, told the Globe and Mail.

The Ontario government has used similar plays to block access to other vaccines in the past. It denied access to H1N1 vaccine in 2017, after hundreds of people became ill from flu-related illnesses. The government then allowed some people to make appointments, but insisted that it still had to wait for them to show up.

In the case of Canada’s flu shot shortage, the province made a similar argument to delay access to the shot — but there have been no similar arguments for shutting down the flu clinic.

Read the full story at the Globe and Mail.

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