Fewer than half of kids five to 11 are vaccinated just five days before back-to-school
QUEEN’S PARK — Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath is calling urgently for a new vaccine push for students.
Only 46.7 percent of kids aged five to 11 in Ontario have their first dose, and just 3.5 percent have their second shot.
“We all want kids safely back in school on Monday,” said Horwath. “Parents, teachers and education workers are worried about classrooms where only half the kids are vaccinated. We’re all worried about more kids getting sick, or missing more school days. We have to protect our little ones better than that.”
For months, Horwath and the NDP have been calling for the COVID vaccine to be added to the required student immunization list. Horwath is also calling for the province to send vaccine teams to hold in-school clinics and reach out to families to answer their questions and make a vaccine plan.
“Why would Doug Ford require a chickenpox shot, but not a COVID vaccine for kids?,” said NDP Education critic Marit Stiles. “He’s not using every tool in the toolkit to encourage kids to get vaccinated, and it’s children, teachers, education workers and families that will pay the price for that.”
It’s been eight weeks since the COVID vaccine has been approved for Canadian kids five to 11.
Horwath and the NDP have been calling for:
- A vaccine blitz for students with in-school vaccine clinics with permission from parents, and an outreach campaign including culturally-relevant outreach
- Mandatory vaccination for all teachers and education workers
- Reduced class sizes and school busloads
- Free rapid tests for all students, teachers and education staff
- Access to PCR tests again
- Reporting of COVID cases in schools
- Improved ventilation in all schools and regular on-site air quality testing
- Free N95 masks for all teachers and education workers
- Support for teachers and staff to help address critical learning gaps caused by previous shutdowns