School vaccination clinics are key to immunizing children: Ontario science board

Ontario reported 321 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday

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An expert group advising the Ontario government says hosting COVID-19 vaccination clinics in schools is a key strategy in a plan to immunize children.

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Health Minister Christine Elliott has said schools will likely play an important role in the campaign to vaccinate children ages five to 11, once Health Canada approves vaccines for that age group.

She says it can be done after hours and on weekends, so parents can be with their children when they are vaccinated.

The Ontario Science Board says recommendations from healthcare providers will help, too, as will systems for reminding parents of their child’s first and second doses, and public health communication to address misinformation. and foster positive attitudes towards vaccination.

Experts say images should not focus on needles, but rather communications should focus on benefits, such as protecting grandparents, keeping schools open and safely participating in recreational activities.

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They state that it will also be important to consider the different stages of development of young children and adolescents, such as planning scenarios in which young people want to be vaccinated but their parents do not, and the ability to consent.

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Ontario today reports 321 new COVID-19 cases and nine more deaths. Elliott says 203 of those cases are in people who are not fully vaccinated or who have unknown vaccination status.

There are 134 people in intensive care units due to COVID-19, and 16 of those patients are people from Saskatchewan. Elliott says 118 of the people in the ICU are either not fully vaccinated or have unknown vaccination status.

Nearly 88 percent of eligible Ontarians have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and more than 84 percent have received both doses.

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