Vaccination Status Reporting Regulation FAQ
- What is the Vaccination Status Reporting Regulation?
The Vaccination Status Reporting Regulation is a new regulation (law) put into place on July 1, 2019. It supports the collection of immunization records of school-age children by Public Health so that all records are stored in one place, the provincial immunization registry. The regulation applies to public, independent, and home-schooled students in kindergarten through grade 12, including students who live in First Nations communities and attend school off-reserve. At this time, the regulation does not apply to students who attend schools in First Nations communities or children who attend daycares or Strong Start Centres.
Vaccination Status Indicator
- Why doesn’t the regulation apply to children attending schools in First Nations communities?
Before this regulation is put into place in First Nations communities, more discussion needs to happen between the government and First Nations education and health organizations. Health care providers working in First Nations communities are dedicated to making sure children have access to all immunizations in the provincial program. If your child attends school in a First Nations community, please check their immunization record to make sure they are up to date. If you have any questions or don’t have a copy of your child’s record, contact your local community health nurse.
- What is the purpose of the regulation?
The purpose of the regulation is to ensure that the immunization records of school-age children are in the provincial immunization registry. Having records in one place will enable health care providers to quickly find out if a person is immunized or not when needed. This is very important in many situations. For example:
- If there is a vaccine-preventable disease outbreak at your child’s school, health care providers can quickly determine who is protected and who is not. This is important to keep your child safe and to prevent an outbreak from spreading.
- Why isn’t my child’s record already in the provincial immunization registry?
Until this year, B.C. didn’t have a provincial immunization registry. This is one of the reasons why this regulation has been put into place. If your child was immunized at your local health unit or school, their record should already be in the provincial registry. If your child was immunized at a First Nations Community Health Centre, doctor’s office, pharmacy, or outside of B.C., their record may not be in the provincial registry yet. This does not mean your child has not been immunized.
- What is happening now?
Health units* will review the immunization records of children who attend schools the regulation applies to. If your child’s immunizations are up to date and their record is in the provincial immunization registry, you will not be contacted, and you will not need to do anything. If your child’s record is not in the provincial registry, a public health nurse** may contact you to request it. If your child is missing some or all immunizations, you will be provided with information on how to get your child's immunizations up to date. If you are not contacted, it's still a good idea to check to see if your child’s records are in the provincial registry. You can check in the provincial registry by going here.
- I don’t have my child’s immunization record. How can I get a copy of it?
- What happens if I don’t provide my child’s immunization record to my health unit?
If you choose not to provide your child’s immunization record to your local health unit, your child will be noted as unimmunized in the provincial registry. If there is a vaccine-preventable disease outbreak at your child’s school, your child may be asked to stay home from school until it is safe to return, which may be several weeks. This is important to help protect your child from getting sick with a vaccine-preventable disease and spreading the disease to others - including children who cannot be immunized due to medical reasons.
- Who has the authority (power) to ask my child to stay home from school if there is a disease outbreak?
A medical health officer has the power to have a student removed from school whose health condition may put the health or well-being of other students at risk. An example is an unimmunized child who is at risk of getting a vaccine-preventable disease and spreading it to others. Under the School Act of British Columbia, schools must ensure that learning continues for students who cannot attend school. These students will have lesson plans and activities sent home.
- What if my child cannot be immunized due to a medical reason?
There are very few reasons why a child cannot be immunized. Examples include a very severe allergy to a vaccine (called anaphylaxis) and some health conditions that weaken the immune system. If your child has a medical condition and you are not sure if your child can be immunized, please talk to your health care provider. If your child cannot be immunized, you may be asked to have your health care provider sign a form.
- What if I do not want my child immunized?
If you have concerns about getting your child immunized, please talk to your healthcare provider. You can read about why vaccines are important and the risks and your responsibilities if you choose not to vaccinate. If you choose not to have your child immunized, you may be asked to sign a form.
- If I refuse vaccines for my child, will I be contacted and offered the vaccines again?
If you refuse vaccines for your child, the refusal will be noted in your child’s chart. However, your health care provider may contact you to offer refused vaccines again in the future. You may also receive a phone call or a card in the mail from your local health unit, reminding you that your child is due for vaccines. This is because sometimes parents change their minds and may decide to vaccinate their children. Reasons for this include changes in a child’s health, an increase in the risk of infection, changes in beliefs, new information that a parent did not have before, and changes in vaccine recommendations. When your health care provider contacts you, it also gives you the chance to discuss any new information you may have and to ask more questions.
At a minimum, your health care provider may contact you to offer refused vaccines again at school entry and when your child is 10 and 13 years of age. You will also be contacted and offered vaccines for your child if they are unvaccinated, and there is a vaccine-preventable disease outbreak at your child’s school. If there is an outbreak at your child’s school and your child is unprotected, your child may be asked to stay home until it is safe to return. They may miss several days or weeks of school. This is to protect your child and their classmates.
Mature minors are given the chance to consent to vaccines on their own, even if the parent has refused. You can read more about mature minor consent here.
- Are there other provinces with similar reporting requirements?
New Brunswick, Manitoba, and Ontario have immunization reporting requirements. The Province of Ontario has similar requirements as B.C. Under Ontario’s immunization legislation (law), parents must report their child’s immunizations to their local medical health officer. You can learn more about Ontario’s reporting law here.
- Will my child’s immunization information be kept private?
Yes. Only public health staff can review or hold student immunization records. This is no change to how things currently are. Any records collected by third parties (for example, your child’s school) must be securely and confidentially (privately) stored and sent directly to the local health unit for review and follow up. All privacy and information sharing considerations related to this regulation have been reviewed by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner, and the transfer of information is allowed and expected under the Public Health Act. Find more information about how your child's immunization information will be kept private here.
- Does the regulation apply to teachers or other school staff?
No. The regulation only applies to children from kindergarten to Grade 12. However, all school staff is encouraged to make sure their immunizations are up to date.
*Health units are called public health units, community health centres or primary care homes in some areas of B.C.
**Public health nurses are called community health nurses or primary care nurses in some areas of B.C.
- Where can I get information specific to my health authority?
You can find health authority-specific information (for example, clinic information) by visiting your health authority's website: