Hamilton schoolchildren days away from being vaccinated at school


Published February 7, 2022 at 10:30 pm

Public health nurses in Hamilton will begin visiting elementary schools during instructional hours to offer vaccinations against COVID-19 to younger children.

On Monday, COVID Operations Chief Michelle Baird said said that the City of Hamilton is again shifting strategically in its fight against the now two-year-long pandemic. It is moving back toward the “last mile strategy” of focusing on areas of the city that have lower vaccine uptake, while also making longer-term plans with the city’s hospital networks.

“Next week, public health nurses will begin visiting schools in Hamilton, with the plan to provide a COVID-19 vaccine,” Baird said. “Our aim is for public health nurses to visit all public and Catholic schools by March Break.”

March 11 is the last instructional day before the break. In recent weeks, Hamilton Public Health Services have been focused on giving fourth doses to seniors.

An estimated 49.7 per cent of children aged 5 to 11 in Hamilton have had their first jab since Health Canada approved pediatric doses in November, and 21.7 per cent have had their second. Baird said that parental/caregiver consent will be required for a child to receive a dose, and there will be options to have the vaccine given after school or on the weekend if the parent’s presence is desired.

The Ontario government has discontinued case-by-case reporting of confirmed COVID-19 cases linked to schools, instead posting only absence rates for staff and students. At one point last week, the seven elementary schools with the highest reported absence rates in Hamilton were all in the lower city, between Lake Ontario and Main Street. The estimated first-dose coverage in five of the schools was under 37 per cent, and only one had reached 50 per cent.

To free up nurses to go in the schools, the mass vaccination clinic at the Centre on Barton in the east end will begin to wind down operations after the end of the day on Sunday (Feb. 13). Baird said that as many as 2,700 doses were given out there in one day last month, as Hamiltonians felt an urgency to get a third dose during the spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant. But recently, the volume had dropped to 170 per day.

The Mountain Vaccine Clinic, located at LimeRidge Mall (999 Upper Wentworth St.), will remain open.

insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising