New data shows immunization rates have improved for school-aged children in Windsor-Essex.

Public Health Ontario released its Immunization Coverage Report for School Pupils in Ontario on Tuesday for the 2017–18 school year.

More than 96 per cent of 7-year-olds have the required vaccines for Rubella and Meningococcal disease while nearly 91 per cent of youth in the same age group have been vaccinated for Measles and Mumps. More than 87 per cent have been vaccinated for Varicella, Pertussis, Diptheria, Tetanus and Polio.

The report also found nearly 83 per cent of 12-year-olds have coverage for Meningococcal disease.

In the 17-year-old age group, only 80 per cent of students have been vaccinated for Pertussis. More than 81 per cent have received vaccines for Diptheria and Tetanus and more than 94 of students have the required vaccines for Polio, Measles, Mumps and Rubella.

The Immunization of School Pupils Act requires students attending primary and secondary school be immunized against the nine vaccine preventable diseases.

The report also lists the proportion of students who have received an exemption.

It shows 3.4 per cent of 7-year-old students and 2.6 per cent of 17-year-olds had a non-medical exemption for at least one disease. That is higher than the rest of the province.

In a statement, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Wajid Ahmed said they have made improvements since 2015 but more work needs to be done.

“This annual report serves as a good reminder that although we have seen improvements in our vaccination rates, there is still important work to be done to ensure our community is protected from the spread of vaccine preventable diseases,” said Dr. Ahmed.

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit credits the improved results to an increase in resources since 2015 where staff assessed immunization records of Grade 2 students and implemented the suspension process for incomplete records.

A summary of other key findings from the report is available on wechu.org.