Camping it up · Kids · parenting · snarky · whine and cheese

Day 413: Quaint.

It’s that time of year again: time to fill out all the camp forms for the kids. Most of them are time consuming, but no big deal. Where I always get stumped, somehow, is at the immunizations.

For those of you who don’t live in Ontario: we have this antiquated system of keeping track of our immunizations. It’s this little yellow trifold card that we (or the doctors) fill in by hand with the date and which vaccines were given. That’s all I have to refer to when the camp asks me for the dates of every vaccination the kids have ever had. I’m sure the doctor’s office has this information in the kids’ files (which are, thankfully, now all computerized,) but that information doesn’t get shared with anyone. Not with me, and not with public health.

That’s why, when each of my kids was enrolled in grade one, I got a letter from Toronto Public Health threatening the kid’s suspension from school if we didn’t provide records of vaccination. The first time it happened I was baffled; The second time I was annoyed; and the third time I was fed up. Apparently after the doctor vaccinates the child and enters the information into their computer, the parents have to go home and enter the same information into the Toronto Public Health website… every single time the kid gets a vaccine. You’d think there’d be some way to opt-in to your doctor sharing the vaccination records with public health—but you’d be wrong.

Honestly, I have flirted with the idea of just telling the school and public health that I’m not vaccinating my kids on conscientious grounds. Of course I’d still have them fully vaccinated—I’d just be saving myself the duplication of labour.

Today as I put in the kids’ vaccination dates I noticed a few… irregularities. I had no record of K being immunized for chicken pox, even though I’m positive that we’ve never declined a vaccine that was offered. That’s the sort of error that comes of having the parent and/or doctor forget to update the quaint little yellow vaccination card. Now I’ll have to call the doctors’ office and have them spend even more time on this issue by generating lists of the kids’ vaccinations and emailing them to me (at least I hope they’ll email them to me, although most doctors won’t actually email confidential medical information. That’s why doctors here still have fax machines, another quaint reminder of a bygone and less efficient era.)

All of this to say that there has GOT to be a better system for sharing this information. A unique PIN for each child, perhaps, that the camp can input into a database to confirm that the child has had all required vaccinations? Something? Anything to advance our public health system past the days of carrier pigeons and fax machines?

Booster shot for Ontario's vaccination policies | The Star
Image description: an Ontario Immunization Record Card. Yep, we’re on the honour system, it seems.

2 thoughts on “Day 413: Quaint.

  1. Fascinating. Ask your doctor’s office for a complete print out for each child. You may need to go by and pick them up. Keep the printouts! With passports…. a good place so you know where to look next time. Where I am camp or school needs a signed by doctor form not just information reported by parents……
    My children and vaccinations were pre-computers. I had ‘well child books’ with their information recorded each visit. My grands however get paper copies of of computer printouts after each visit …… With my current HMO I can log in and look at my vaccination records but they are only for vaccines given with this HMO…… not life history. And, of course, there are SO VERY MANY MORE vaccines now available than when I was a child……… Things change. If your children have any lab work done you need to keep a copy of the results for them. A documents folder for each child of health history…….. That hopefully they will never need.
    Thank you for sharing how things are happening where you are.

  2. I’ve had many a fascinating conversation with my family doctor on the topic of computerizing medical records. You’d think it would be straightforward, but it is totally the opposite, and it seems as though every company who makes software to do this sort of thing tends to do it terribly. For example, on the software my doctor is now forced to use to write prescriptions, the prescriptions are sorted alphabetically. Which appears to be a good idea, until you realize that the drugs have all been entered into the system starting with the dosage. So first you start with all the 10mg prescriptions of all the drugs…and then you get to the 20s.

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