- Why do I need the immunizations?
After consultation with our industry partners and a review of the recommendations in the Canadian Immunization Guide, 7th Edition (Updates 2012-2014), NSCC has set standard immunization requirements. These immunizations are for your protection as well as the clients that you will be serving. Failure to obtain the required immunizations and submit the Immunization form by the scheduled date may impact your ability to find a work placement. Inability to obtain a work placement will impact the student's ability to complete program requirements and proceed through to graduation.
- My doctor is gone or my records are lost or I do not have a record of my immunizations, what do I do?
If your immunization status is unknown, you can have blood work done to confirm immunity for MMR, Hepatitis B and Varicella (chicken pox). If blood work confirms immunity, this can be noted on the NSCC immunization form, and no further immunization is required.
You may also contact the Department of Health to find out if they have a record of your immunization. If you have relocated and are in need of a new doctor, the following website from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia may offer some assistance.
- Should I just get the Hepatitis B shot or TWINRIX?
The vaccine requirement is for Hepatitis B. Twinrix includes both Hepatitis A & B vaccines. Please note that Hepatitis A is not required for your placement and the NSCC Student Health and Dental Benefit plan will not cover the Twinrix vaccine. For those students not waiving coverage, the vaccines covered under the plan include: Recombivax - DIN: 00749486 and Energix -DIN: 01919431. If you wish, you may receive the Twinrix vaccine instead of the Hepatitis B vaccine, however those costs must be covered by you. Also note, you may have received this vaccine if you graduated from high school in 2004 or later.
- Do I have to have all the shots for Hepatitis B completed prior to placement?
Yes. Hepatitis B immunizations take 7 months to complete including the blood test to ensure immunity (titer level) which can be done no earlier than 1 month following the final immunization. Please note that coverage under the NSCC plan commences in September. If vaccines are received prior to that date, they will not be covered by the NSCC Student Health and Dental plan.
There are two options that are valid and acceptable for obtaining the Hepatitis B vaccine:
- Standard Schedule (0, 1, 6 months)
- Accelerated Schedule (0,1,2 and 12 months)
If students have time on their side they should complete the standard schedule (0, 1, 6 months). This is less costly and requires 3 injections.
The accelerated schedule requires the 4th injection at the end of 12months and may result in a higher cost.
- How do I get started with obtaining the required immunizations
The following important information refers to the order and sequence of immunizations. In order to complete NSCC immunization requirements in a timely manner, please adhere to the requirements below.
Tuberculin skin testing (TST) is a two-step process that requires 4 visits to the health care provider. Tuberculin skin testing should be done first before any other immunizations are given.
Step 1 (TST): This consists of one dose of TST, which is administered by the health care provider and then read 48 hours later by the health care provider. Each of these steps requires a visit to the health care provider.
Step 2: TST: After the first injection, the second dose should be administered 1 week later. This second dose is read 48 hours after administration. As with the first, this step requires two visits to the health care provider.
After completion of the Tuberculin test, you can proceed immediately to the other required immunizations and receive them at the same time.
Other immunizations include:
- dTap (Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis). Booster dose is required every 10 years.
- MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) *
- Varicella (chicken pox) *
NOTE: Immunizations noted with a * are live vaccines. If you receive an immunization with a live vaccine, you must wait 30 days before administering TB testing. This may significantly impact the requirement to complete immunizations by a required deadline. Within the NSCC requirements, there are 2 live vaccines that can impact this: Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR vaccine) and Varicella vaccine.
These live vaccines can be administered together at the same time. If they are not administered at the same time, they must be administered no sooner than 30 days apart.
- When do I have to have the immunizations completed?
Immunizations are to be completed prior to starting your work placement. Please note: some immunizations may require a delay in receiving others, for example after receiving an MMR booster one must wait 4 weeks before having a TB test completed. A date to submit the completed form will be provided by the faculty on your campus in September.
Cara-Leah Hmidan, RN BScN MN
Immunication Coordinator Public Health
Nova Scotia Health Authority