Immunization & Testing

The AFMC Student Portal Immunization and Testing Form (available in French and English) and its companion guide titled Guidelines to the AFMC Student Portal Immunization and Testing Form are intended for use by Canadian and international medical students who wish to participate in visiting electives in Canada.

Please Note

Please Note

Immunization Form

This guideline provides detailed information about the immunization requirements for Canadian and international medical students seeking elective placements at Canadian medical schools.

Please see below chart for any school specific immunization and testing requirements.

*All students except for those from McMaster University, Memorial University of Newfoundland, University of Calgary, and University of Manitoba must fill out the AFMC Student Portal Immunization and Testing Form 2020. If you are a student from the above listed Universities, please contact your home school as they will complete the immunization form for you.

Testing Guidelines

This guideline provides detailed information about the immunization requirements for Canadian and international medical students seeking elective placements at Canadian medical schools.

Testing Guide

This document acts as a guide to help students verify their immunizations for their desired visiting elective. It also answers many important frequently asked questions.

School Specific Immunization and Testing Requirements

Any school specific immunization or testing requirement only needs to be shared with the school making the request once an elective is approved, it is not required as part of the application (an exception is the recent TST for Western; if indicated, this must be submitted as part of the elective application, see table for additional details)

COVID-19 Vaccine
Hep C and HIV Testing
Mumps
Seasonal Influenza Vaccine
Screening for Latent TB Infection
Tuberculin Skin Test (TST)
University of Alberta
Required see details…
If an outbreak…
University of British Columbia
Seasonal requirements…
University of Calgary
Required see details…
If an outbreak…
Dalhousie University
Required see details…
X
Université Laval
Required see details…
University of Manitoba
Required see details…
X
McGill University
Required see details…
X
McMaster University
Required see details…
Some specialties…
X
Memorial University
Required see details…
If an outbreak…
X
Université de Montréal
Required see details…
NOSM University
Required see details…
X
University of Ottawa
Required see details…
Required see details…
X
Within 12 months…
Queen’s University
Required see details…
Required see details…
X
University of Saskatchewan
Required see details…
Université de Sherbrooke
Required see details…
University of Toronto
Required see details…
X
Western University
Required see details…
X
International Students…
Required see details…

Immunization & Testing FAQ

For any questions not covered below, or additional concerns, requirements, or process inquiries, please refer to your home medical school, the school(s) to which you are applying, or the HCP completing the form for you.

General

The Canadian medical schools are obligated by law to keep your personal health information confidential, and only the minimal number of individuals required at each medical school will access and use the information provided.

No. All students must submit the completed Form. It is also not appropriate to attach original immunization and testing documentation (e.g., serology reports) to the Form other than when requested. This helps ensure that every student is following the requirements set by the medical schools and enables schools to determine that no documentation is missing.

Discuss this with the HCP assessing your immune status. In general, previous records will count so long as the immunization is properly documented and respects the minimal age and spacing intervals of that particular immunization series.

An attempt should be made to obtain immunization records from the previous clinician, facility, or public health unit. If this is not successful then in general, the immunizations should be repeated. Parental recall of prior immunization is known to correlate poorly with vaccines received and is not acceptable as evidence of immunization. Serological testing for immunity has a limited role in this area and for most immunizations is not recommended. The Canadian Immunization Guide states:

  • Routine serologic testing to determine the immunity of children and adults without immunization records is generally not practical. The following approach is recommended: Children and adults lacking adequate documentation of immunization should be considered unimmunized and started on an immunization schedule appropriate for their age and risk factors.

  • Discuss this with the HCP assessing your status and completing your forms. If you are missing immunizations it is recommended you have this addressed early enough to permit you enough time to complete a series. For example, a complete routine adult polio series will take a minimum of seven months to complete if no previous doses are documented.

No. You only need to provide documentation of immunizations and test results that are requested on the Form. For example, you do not need to provide documentation of Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG), monovalent hepatitis A, meningococcal, pneumococcal, or rabies vaccines as part of this process.

If you are not able to meet the requirements for a medical or health condition it is necessary for the HCP completing the Form to provide specific details; either in Section C of the Form, or by attaching relevant information from a physician. In addition, you would need to complete the Exceptions and Contraindications to Immunization and Testing Requirements, Self-Declaration Form (Appendix A), to acknowledge that you understand you may not be fully protected, and also that you may be subjected to additional precautions or restrictions during the proposed elective placement.

Students who have chronic infection with hepatitis B virus, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and/or hepatitis C virus must familiarize themselves with the policies of the medical schools where they wish to apply. In Canada, knowing one’s serological status with respect to HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C is an expectation of the medical profession, and if positive, must be reported to the appropriate authority. The appropriate authority, in some provinces may be independent of the medical school (e.g., the provincial regulatory authority). In other cases, the school will be that authority (see for example requirements for Queen’s University, McMaster University and University of Ottawa in Section J of the Form). All schools require reporting of chronic hepatitis B virus, as all students need to have hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) test results documented by a HCP on the Form.

Hepatitis B

Documentation of a hepatitis B immunization series is required for all students. Positive serology (hepatitis B surface antibody [anti-HBs]) alone will not be accepted if there is an incomplete or absent record of immunization (exception: students immune due to natural immunity, i.e., positive anti-HBs AND positive antibody to hepatitis B core antibody [anti-HBc], or students with chronic hepatitis B infection do not require immunizations documented). Students with an incomplete or undocumented hepatitis B series must proceed to obtain a hepatitis B immunization series; those who are part way through completion of the series must complete the Hepatitis B Not Immune, Self-Declaration Form (Appendix D) when submitting the Form.

All health care workers should be tested for antibody to hepatitis B surface antigen (anti-HBs) to ensure immunity to hepatitis B. It is also a good idea to test for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), to determine which individuals may be chronic carriers of the hepatitis B virus; this has been made a requirement on the Form. It is possible that a chronic carrier of hepatitis B will be positive for both anti-HBs and HBsAg (this occurs in about 5% of chronic carriers). Testing for both anti-HBs and HBsAg will permit a student’s specific status to be determined. Some students who were not tested for HBsAg will need to have this test performed now. If a student previously had a test for anti-HBs and was positive (immune), the test for anti-HBs should not be repeated when testing for HBsAg occurs (false-negative anti-HBs results are possible in this situation and may lead to unnecessary booster doses).

Influenza

An up-to-date seasonal influenza immunization is required for electives occurring during November to June inclusive for the following medical schools: Dalhousie University, McMaster University, Memorial University, McGill University, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Queen’s University, University of Manitoba, University of Ottawa, University of Toronto, and Western University. The University of British Columbia requires either documented influenza or a mask be worn for electives November to June inclusive. All other medical schools highly recommend influenza vaccination as it is considered a standard of professional practice in Canada.

Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Varicella

Generally the answer is no, but discuss this situation with the HCP offering you services. For measles, mumps, rubella and varicella post-immunization serology is not necessary and should not be performed for the purposes of occupational health requirements. The HCP assessing you should ensure that the measles immunizations were properly documented and spaced (two doses given a minimum of four weeks apart, starting on or after the first birthday). The negative measles serology most likely represents a false negative and in most cases can be ignored.

Yes. It is possible that a history of chickenpox infection is not accurate. A test for varicella antibodies (immunoglobulin G [IgG]) is necessary to verify that a student is indeed immune. If the test is positive, no further action is required for varicella. If the test is negative, a student will require two doses of varicella vaccine administered six or more weeks apart.

In the past a single dose of varicella vaccine provided to a child between ages 12 months and 12 years was considered a complete series. Canadian guidelines have changed and now recommend such individuals receive one more dose of varicella vaccine to complete a two-dose series. Varicella serology should not be tested before or after the second varicella immunization.

Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Polio

All adult health care workers should receive a single dose of tetanus diphtheria acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine for pertussis protection, if not previously received in adulthood (age 18 years or greater), even if the individual is not due for a tetanus/diphtheria booster. The adult dose is in addition to the routine adolescent Tdap booster.

No. All students require a complete primary polio immunization series documented. For the purposes of satisfying the requirements listed on the Form students who have a primary polio immunization series documented do not require an adult booster dose of polio vaccine.

Tuberculosis

Once a two-step TST has been properly administered and documented it does not need to be repeated; all future TSTs can be single TSTs.

Typically, students do not need a repeat TST for the purposes of satisfying elective requirements. However, there are two exceptions to this:

  • University of Ottawa
    If the most recent TST was given over 12 months prior to the elective start date, a single TST will be require for students without contraindications attending an elective at the University of Ottawa. The TST does not need to be submitted until the elective is officially approved.

  • Western University
    If a student answers “Yes” to any of the two TB exposure questions found in Section F: Tuberculosis (TB) of the AFMC Form, Western University requires a repeat TST for students without contraindications. The TST must be performed eight or more weeks after the last known possible contact with infectious TB disease (e.g., return from an international elective). The TST must be submitted with the application, submitting this documentation cannot wait until the elective is officially approved.

For each of the above schools: Students with a documented contraindication to a TST do not need to have a repeat TST (e.g., previous positive TST).

Not necessarily. You would need to have a HCP document on the Form your positive TST and chest X-ray (attaching the chest X-ray report). You will also need to complete and submit the Tuberculosis Awareness, and Signs and Symptoms Self-Declaration Form (Appendix B) (to be completed by the student). If abnormalities are noted on the chest X-ray or in your symptom review then a repeat chest X-ray may be necessary, at the discretion of the HCP. Most students will not have any abnormalities noted, and therefore they would not require a repeat chest X-ray. However for Western University students with a positive TB history must submit a chest X-ray report that is current within six months of entry into medical school.

For the purpose of the Form treatment for LTBI and/or an IGRA test is not required. If either of these services were provided documentation of such does not need to be included with an application. Please see question #12 for more information on the requirements for a student with a positive TST.

January 7th, 2022

Portal and Visiting Electives update

The AFMC Student Portal for visiting electives is currently closed. Visiting Electives for the Class of 2022 were suspended during the AFMC Board meeting on April 18, 2021. That includes electives for both Canadian and International students. The Undergraduate Deans of Canada’s medical schools are meeting on a regular basis and the decision to re-open the Portal will be made collaboratively and consistently across the country taking into account learning opportunities, provincial covid restrictions and other public health concerns.

We are working with our new Service Provider to build out the new visiting elective service portal. It will be ready when electives are offered again.

December 21, 2021

Portal Home page Upgrade

The AFMC Student Portal will be offline starting December 23, 2021. The refreshed portal will being rolling out in late February 2022.

For MCAT® Fee Assistance Program Applicants please verify eligibility and submit application through our AFMC website.

We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience.

If you have any questions, please contact the Help Desk at service@afmcstudentportal.ca

University of Alberta: COVID-19

Alberta Health Services requires students who come to do electives or rotations in Alberta be vaccinated for COVID 19. There are no exemptions granted (even if valid medical reasons).

CLP-AHS-immunization-workers-1189.pdf

University of Alberta: Mumps

In the event of an outbreak during a visiting elective at the University of Alberta a visiting student may not be allowed to commence or complete the elective if the student’s evidence of mumps immunity is based on serology alone, rather than a complete and documented immunization series or laboratory evidence of infection.

University of British Columbia: Seasonal Influenza Vaccine

Requires either a documented influenza immunization or a mask be worn for electives November to June inclusive.

University of Calgary: COVID-19

Alberta Health Services requires students who come to do electives or rotations in Alberta be vaccinated for COVID 19. There are no exemptions granted (even if valid medical reasons).

CLP-AHS-immunization-workers-1189.pdf

University of Calgary: Mumps

In the event of an outbreak during a visiting elective at the University of Calgary a visiting student may not be allowed to commence or complete the elective if the student’s evidence of mumps immunity is based on serology alone, rather than a complete and documented immunization series or laboratory evidence of infection.

Dalhousie University: COVID-19

Dalhousie University and the three Health Authorities in which medical students work require proof of two doses of a Health Canada Approved SARS-2-COVID vaccine. It is possible that in future , one or all of Health Authorities may require proof of a third (booster) dose.

Université Laval: COVID-19

Quebec government passed a bill mandating COVID vaccination (2 doses)

University of Manitoba: COVID-19

COVID-19 vaccine requirement is being added to the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences Immunization policy. It is anticipated this policy will updated and in place for Fall 2022.

McGill University: COVID-19

Quebec government passed a bill mandating COVID vaccination (2 doses)

https://www.mcgill.ca/coronavirus/

McMaster University: COVID-19

Full vaccination series according to NACI guidelines mandatory. See the Immunization Requirements tab on our institution profile for details

https://afmcstudentportal.ca/mcmaster-university/

McMaster University: Hep C and HIV Testing

Reports for HIV and Hepatitis C serology required for confirmed electives in obstetrics, gynecology, emergency and surgical specialties. Results must be dated after March 1 of the year of entry into medical school and are valid for 4 years.

Memorial University of Newfoundland: COVID-19

In an effort to ensure continued safety in all Eastern Health facilities, as well as to ensure additional health protection for all Newfoundland and Labradorians, all Eastern Health employees (regardless of physical work location or work arrangements) physicians (including fee for service physicians), locums, clergy, volunteers and students are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have approved exemption.

Memorial University of Newfoundland: Mumps

In the event of an outbreak during a visiting elective at the Memorial University of Newfoundland a visiting student may not be allowed to commence or complete the elective if the student’s evidence of mumps immunity is based on serology alone, rather than a complete and documented immunization series or laboratory evidence of infection.

Université de Montréal: COVID-19

Quebec government passed a bill mandating COVID vaccination (2 doses)

NOSM University: COVID-19

NOSM has made the decision to make COVID-19 vaccination a requirement for their NOSM students.

University of Ottawa: COVID-19

Proof of COVID-19 vaccine primary series. Includes two doses of Pfizer, Moderna or Astra-Zeneca vaccines or one dose of the vaccine by Johnson & Johnson Janssen (or others as approved by WHO).

This is a mandatory requirement in order to follow Directive #6 – Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. It is also in keeping with our partner hospitals’ requirement and the Council of Ontario Universities (COFM) immunization policy.

Medical learners should follow NACI recommendation on the use of COVID-19 vaccines.

Institutions may impose the 3rd COVID booster dose as a mandatory requirement. Medical learners who choose not to have the COVID-19 booster dose should be notified that hospital/long term care home policies may preclude them from clinical placement.

https://med.uottawa.ca/cprm/program-requirements/immunizations

University of Ottawa: Hep C and HIV Testing

We require visiting students who have an elective scheduled as of September 2019 to submit HIV and Hepatitis C testing that is current within 12 months of the elective application; the official laboratory report is required. This does not need to be submitted until an elective is confirmed.

University of Ottawa: Tuberculin Skin Test (TST)

For students without contraindications, if the most recent TST was given over 12 months prior to the elective start date, a single TST will be required for students attending an elective at the University of Ottawa

Queen’s University: COVID-19

Proof of COVID-19 vaccine (2 doses)

Queen’s University: Hep C and HIV Testing

Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Hepatitis C Testing within 12 months of the elective application date

University of Saskatchewan: COVID-19

Proof of COVID-19 vaccine (2 doses), boosters are strongly recommended, with the exception of students with approved accommodations exempting them from this vaccination.

Full Immunization for COVID-19 reduces the risk of serious illness in immunized recipients and reduces transmission to others (patients, families, and members of the health care team).

Université de Sherbrooke: COVID-19

Une preuve de vaccination à la COVID-19 est requise pour effectuer des stages ou toute activité avec des patients réels ou standardisés. À partir de l’automne 2022, les personnes étudiantes admises au programme de doctorat en médecine à l’Université de Sherbrooke devront avoir obtenu au moins deux doses de vaccins contre la COVID-19.

contingent-quebecois-categorie-collegiale

University of Toronto: COVID-19

Proof of COVID-19 vaccine (2 doses) of a health Canada approved vaccine series with some flexibility to accept non-Health Canada approved vaccines.

https://md.utoronto.ca/registration-requirements-requests

Western University

Western University requires international trainees to upload actual proof of information on the completed Immunization form (i.e. immunization records, (yellow immunization cards), titers, lab reports, physician letters) together with the fully completed Immunization Form.

Western University: COVID-19

Full vaccination against COVID-19 is required for all individuals participating in clinical electives and clinical care. Individuals are required to submit Proof of Vaccination.

LHS-COVID19-Policy

UWO – COVID19 Vaccination Policy.pdf

Western University: Screening for Latent TB Infection

An interferon gamma release assay (IGRA) test is not acceptable for international students when a TST is indicated.

Western University: Tuberculin Skin Test (TST)

If a student answers “Yes” to any of the two TB exposure questions found in Section F. Tuberculosis (TB) of the AFMC Form, Western University requires a repeat TST for students without contraindications. The TST must be performed eight or more weeks after the last known possible contact with infectious TB disease (e.g., return from an international elective). This is required as part of the elective application, it must not wait until the elective is approved.