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Immunization records have to be filed with Ottawa Public Health

When your children are immunized it's best to report it to Ottawa Public Health immediately, that way your records are on file in case of emergencies and it makes registering for school easier.

In Ontario the onus is on parents to let area public health officials know what immunizations and booster shots their children have had and when.

Ottawa Public Health's supervisor of immunization programs, Dawn Graikist, said while it's up to parents to report they feel it's their responsibility to educate parents on what to report, when, where and how.

You can call Ottawa Public Health directly or go online to update your immunization records and those of your child. You can also find the immunization schedule online.

When registering your child for school there is also the option to provide the records to your child's school which will then file the records with Ottawa Public Health.

However, Graikist says it is best to update the records as you go.

"Then you know we will have the most up-to-date record in situations like we have now," she said, referring to two confirmed cases of the measles in un-immunized students at a Stittsville School.

Public Health officials had to call 200 families from that school because their records were not on file. All but 12 students had received all immunization but their records weren't updated.

Graikist said once you have reported an immunization to Ottawa Public Health it's also important to keep a copy of all immunization records in a safe place.

"So wherever you're keeping your passports, your will, those really important papers that you don't want to miss that you need to refer to infrequently but will need in an emergency, that's where we recommend that people store their immunization records," she said.

Graikist also suggests bringing those documents with you when you travel in case of an emergency.

The provincial health ministry is working on building a registry that will serve all of Ontario so that if a child changes jurisdictions they won't have to re-submit their immunization records. The registry would still require parents to report the immunization and wouldn't be automated, yet. It is a long-term goal.

Ottawa Public Health partners with the Ottawa Carleton District School Board and the Ottawa Catholic School Board to combat challenges with language and cultural differences among newcomers by using their family welcome centres and trained translators.

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