June 15, 2018

What You Need to Know About the New Immunization Reporting Requirements Starting July 1, 2018

Family physicians play a critical role in protecting individual health and the health of their communities. Together you and your staff and teams work hard to help patients, especially children, to access the immunizations that they need to prevent important preventable illnesses. To date your role has been in ensuring that patients receive their immunizations in a complete and timely way, but you have not been responsible for reporting what has been given. That has been the responsibility of parents. 

Recent changes to the Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA) and regulations will require family physicians to report immunizations provided to children for nine designated diseases, to local public health units beginning on July 1, 2018.
 
The OCFP and other member-based organizations have heard many concerns from family physicians about how these new reporting requirements will impact workload. We, and other associations, have shared those concerns and expressed the need for timely implementation-specific detail, better coordination and consistent messages from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC), Public Health Ontario, and public health units. As we await more and clearer information on reporting to public health, we encourage all members to continue to provide immunizations and choose the reporting method most appropriate for your practice. 

We will continue to raise concerns and work with the MOHLTC and other stakeholders to address these issues, and will share further updates with our members once they are available. In the meantime, the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) recently released a Frequently Asked Questions document about these changes to address questions raised by physicians, such as mechanisms for submitting a report, etc. This FAQ can be accessed here, and will be updated as responses from the MOHLTC become available. 

A one-page backgrounder shared to date by the MOHLTC can be accessed here.