Best practice guidelines for Health Care Workers in Canada recognize the “changing epidemiology (of infectious diseases) and introduction of new vaccines”. The University of Saskatchewan Health Sciences’ programs employ a comprehensive and standardized approach to vaccination and testing requirements for students enrolled in their programs, based on best practice guidelines. A proactive and dynamic approach to current infectious disease management includes response to new infectious disease guidelines and ongoing consultation with the University of Saskatchewan Student Health Centre. This approach recognizes age-appropriate public health recommendations.
Requirements for immunization, and testing for immune status, are based on current scientific knowledge and the most recent information from Health Canada’s ‘Immunization Guidelines’ and the Saskatchewan Immunization Manual as is appropriate for a student in a health science program and who will be engaged in clinical experiential learning. These recommendations serve to protect students as well as staff and patients in health care facilities.
The recommendations and requirements cited below are mandatory and key elements in the preparation of students for clinical practice courses. It is the student’s responsibility to insure that all immunization requirements have been met in a timely manner.
In the event that a student believes they have good reason to refuse any of the required immunizations, this must be discussed with the School of Rehabilitation Science in advance. The School of Rehabilitation Science consults with the U of S Student Health Centre to explore options and alternatives if available. If a student is unable to comply with the required immunizations, the ability to complete all of the School of Rehabilitation Science academic requirements may be in jeopardy and admission to the MPT may also be in jeopardy. This may mean that completion of the program is not possible or it may mean that a ‘waiver’ form must be signed in the event that alternatives are identified.
- Students enrolled in the School of Rehabilitation Science MUST provide official, signed evidence of immunization status on entry into the program. This means that they must complete all requirements as outlined in the U of S Student Health letter on ‘Immunization Requirements for Physical Therapy Students’. It is recommended that, when possible, this is completed and submitted through the U of S Student Health Centre to be officially entered into their files. When this is complete the student is provided with a signed copy of their completed record by the Student Health Centre.
- If the immunization profile is checked and signed as complete by an a health agency other than the U of S Student Health Centre, the official record must be submitted electronically to the School of Rehabilitation Science on or by the day of orientation to the Master of Physical Therapy program. For this year, this must be submitted no later than orientation day, TBA. Address for submission: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Do not delay attending to these immunization requirements. Start as soon as possible after receiving your package.
3. As stated above, for those students who registered with the U of S Student Health Centre as their primary health care provider, or to complete their immunization profile, completed immunization records will be kept at the Student Health Centre. For those students whose primary health services are with another provider, or who complete their immunization requirements elsewhere, the completed immunization records may be submitted electronically to the School of Rehabilitation Science (and these will be then forwarded to the Student Health Centre) or directly to the Student Health Centre.
4. Hepatitis B immunizations, if not previously immunized, must at least show documentation that the series of immunizations has been STARTED BEFORE entering the Physical Therapy program. There is approximately a 6 month time frame to receive the complete Hep. B immunizations series, and serology for proof of protection, and these may be completed after starting the program.
As per the sections on the ‘Immunization Record’, you must also have all of your blood tests done (titres) before entering the School of Rehabilitation Science, Master of Physical Therapy, (MPT). The exception to this requirement is the serology for Hepatitis B which can only be completed after you have completed all of your series of Hepatitis B vaccinations. For those starting their Hepatitis B vaccinations just before entry into the MPT this serology test will need to be completed AFTER completing your series of vaccinations for Hepatitis B (a series which must be complete by TBA).
5. It is imperative that the immunizations, as indicated above, with the exception of Hep B series, are completed and the record filled out and submitted before beginning clinical course requirements. Failure to do so may result in the student being unable to complete the requirements in any of clinical practice courses of the program, including the clinical practice course in the first three weeks. Clinical facilities can, and at times do, refuse a student assignment to the facility for clinical practicum experience based on failure to comply with immunization requirements. This is becoming increasingly more common.
6. You will be required to obtain a vaccination against influenza, a seasonal ‘flu shot’, each Fall, starting in the second year of the program. To date the Saskatoon Health Region has provided this ‘flu shot’ free of charge. However, there may be a small cost associated with this vaccination in subsequent years.
7. Your immunization record will always be kept in a secure, confidential central records’ file and should be updated, as required, during your time in the program. The University of Saskatchewan Student Health Centre stores and reviews the immunization record for each student in the Physical Therapy Program. Clinical facilities often require that a student present a record of their up-to-date immunizations, or that the School verify that the record is complete, before starting a clinical practicum. The Student Health Centre provides a validation of an up to date immunization profile, when complete, to the student. This should be kept on hand in the event that a health facility asks to see it.
8. The health environment is constantly changing. Canadian Public Health guidelines and health facilities revise their standards on a regular basis. The specific immunization requirements are constantly changing and in fact may vary with each health institution. You may be required to have additional immunizations, or immunity status testing, to upgrade your status and comply with University of Saskatchewan required vaccinations during your time in the program. This is also necessary in order to meet standards required for some clinical placements. The costs associated with any additional immunizations or testing are normally the student’s responsibility.
Please call the School of Rehabilitation Science if you have questions about these requirements.
Reminder – Please refer to the accompanying document from U of S Student Health detailing the immunizations and serology requirements.
On admission to the MPT program you will be asked to sign a statement of compliance with the immunization requirements for the School of Rehabilitation Science, which will be kept in your confidential student file. This statement will be similar to the statement below. Please read this statement in advance to understand what it requires as you will be asked to sign a document with this statement on the day of orientation.
Student compliance with immunization requirements of the School of Rehabilitation Science MPT.
I agree to comply with all the immunization requirements of the School of Rehabilitation Science Master of Physical Therapy program as outlined in the document above, unless there are ‘significant extenuating circumstances’. Any perceived ‘extenuating circumstances’ must immediately be reported to the School of Rehabilitation Science for investigation and consultation as to whether they can be accommodated. I understand that failure to comply with the immunization requirements will normally impact on my participation in clinical practice courses.