In-school COVID-19 vaccination program coming to Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon

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Published January 14, 2022 at 11:51 am

Dozens of in-school COVID-19 vaccination clinics will be coming schools in Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon.

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown confirmed details of the upcoming program in an interview with Insauga.com on Friday, saying there will soon be 26 vaccination clinics throughout Peel Region schools.

Brown said that while existing vaccination centres have been effective at meeting the demand of adult vaccination, the in-school clinics will be a way to increase vaccination rates in the 5 to 11 age group and in communities where uptake has been slower.

“There’s a lot of shift workers who don’t have time to take their kids in to get vaccinated but want to get their kids vaccinated,” Brown told insauga.com.

Brown said there will be a parental consent from sent home with students and that “no one is going to get vaccinated without their parents consenting.”

“Parents signs the forms, (kids) go to school, they get vaccinated there,” he said.

A spokesperson for Peel Public Health (PPH) said the in-school vaccination program will start with a pilot program which kicks off later this month.

On Wednesday, the province announced plans to begin school-based vaccination clinics along with the distribution of millions of rapid antigen tests and non-fit-tested N95 masks to school staff, as well as three-ply masks for students.

The province said parents will soon receive a form offering the opportunity “to safely and conveniently provide public health units the authority to vaccinate their child at a school-based vaccine clinic.”

Brown has been outspoken about his desire for students return to in-person learning after a recent the province’s most recent move to online classes.

In a motion passed on Monday, Brown and the rest of Ontario’s Big City Mayors said they support a call from pediatric experts and parents to resume in-person classes on Monday, Jan. 17.

The return to in-person learning combined with new in-school vaccination program is “an opportunity to drive those vaccination rates up,” Brown said.

But not everyone is as optimistic about the return to in-person learning next week.

The Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board of Trustees sent a letter to Education Minister Stephen Lecce on Wednesday expressing “grave concern, disappointment, and frustration” over recent changes to how COVID-19 will be managed in schools.

The board said it was especially disappointed with the discontinuation of COVID-19 reporting as well as the dismissal of students and staff when a positive case has been identified in a classroom or cohort.

The board called on the province to reconstitute the COVID-19 reporting system that was in place before the winter break. It also said the province should provide better quality masks to students and an “adequate number” of rapid test kits to all students and staff.

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