Changes to the Alberta School Immunization Program

Alberta Health has made changes to the school immunization program that will take effect in the 2018/19 school year.

In the 2018/19 school year, public health nurses will review the immunization records of all Alberta students from Grades 1 to 9 to assess immunization status. Parents/guardians will be contacted if their children are missing immunization information. With parent/guardian consent, children can be offered the immunizations they are missing at school. Parents/guardians will continue to have the final decision on immunizing their children.

In 2019/20, Alberta is moving from a three-dose vaccine schedule in Grade 5 to a two-dose vaccine schedule in Grade 6 for both Hepatitis B (HBV) and Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines. Administering two doses at least six months apart has been shown to provide children with good protection against these diseases. This will reduce the number of injections children receive. In 2018/19, children in Grade 5 will not be immunized with the HPV and HBV vaccines, as they will be offered the vaccines the following year in Grade 6.

The Grade 9 school immunization program including the diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis (dTap) and Meningococcal (MenC-ACYW) vaccines will continue to be offered without change. These vaccinations are currently planned to be administered in February 2019.

Alberta Health Services, Public Health will work closely with schools and school authorities to ensure that immunization does not interfere with students taking the Provincial Achievement Tests.

Alberta Health encourages parents to immunize their children against HPV and HBV. Vaccines are safe and effective, and protect our children and communities from disease. Immunization is one of the most important and effective public health tools for protecting children, schools and communities from communicable diseases. Alberta’s current immunization rates are not high enough to prevent cases of some vaccine-preventable diseases.