How will student's confidential immunization information be protected?
- Students’ confidential immunization information is protected under the British Columbia’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). Health authorities must collect, use and disclose the information in accordance with FIPPA.
- In compliance with FIPPA, health authorities have established security protocols to ensure only authorized public health staff can access, view, use and disclose confidential immunization information.
- The Vaccine Status Reporting Regulation (Regulation) also includes a requirement to collect and store immunization records in a manner that ensures confidentiality and security until they are transmitted to health authorities.
- Health authorities, through public health staff, are required to ensure confidential information is securely stored, and if required, disposed in a manner that ensures confidentiality.
- In some health authorities, schools already distribute and collect immunization consent forms to facilitate immunization information flow between public health and parents to support existing school-based immunization programs (Kindergarten, and in Grade 6 and 9).
- School staff/teachers/administrators are not authorized to review a student’s immunization information. School employees will not be contacting parents to ask for immunization information on behalf of the health authorities.
- School employees will not be reviewing students’ immunization information, nor will the schools establish a database of student’s immunization information.
- Public health staff currently ensures that all confidential information provided to parents through schools is provided in a sealed envelope. Parents returning information through the schools should ensure their provided information is also returned in a sealed envelope to protect their child’s privacy.
- Parents may also return confidential information directly to their local health authority/unit.
- The plans for distribution and collection of immunization information for implementation of the Regulation are currently being developed by health authorities, the BC Centre for Disease Control, and the Ministries of Health and Education.
- Details of how this information will be distributed and collected, and the measures taken to ensure privacy and confidentiality, will be publicly communicated closer to the start of the 2019/20 school year.
What provincial legislation authorizes the collection and use of students’ immunization information?
- The collection and use of immunization information by public health officials is allowed and anticipated under the Public Health Act and associated regulations, including the new Vaccine Status Reporting Regulation (Regulation).
- The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) has reviewed the privacy and information sharing considerations of this Regulation with the Ministry of Health (MoH). The MoH will continue engagement with the OIPC to ensure privacy and information considerations are addressed, and changes applied if warranted.
Date last reviewed:
Tuesday, Mar 24, 2020