COVID-19 has been a once-in-a-century event with devastating consequences. And a critical part of containing the virus is making COVID-19 vaccinations as accessible as possible.
Yet, in January when COVID-19 vaccinations become available to Nova Scotia children ages five to 11, the Houston government has said the shots will not be rolled out in schools.
The NSHA’s school immunization policy lists four approved vaccines to be administered in schools – Hepatitis B, HPV 9, DTAP and meningococcal – stating “these vaccines are being offered because the diseases they prevent can be serious.”
“Is there anything more serious than a pandemic?” says Education critic Derek Mombourquette. “Making sure our kids can access the COVID-19 vaccine as easily as possible is a critical measure for any government to fulfil.”
But the Houston government has said school-based clinics for COVID-19 isn’t even on their radar. The plan, they say, is to offer the shots through pharmacies instead. There’s no question that pharmacists have played a fundamental role in our vaccine rollout, But not every child can easily get to one.
“Kids are in school, so having the vaccination available to them right there in the school makes sense,” adds Mombourquette. “But where kids can get on a school bus, they may not have that same access to a pharmacy. For some families, that can be a real deterrent to getting the vaccine and containing the virus’ spread.”
Nova Scotia has been a national leader in the fight against COVID-19 and come the new year, it’ll be our children’s turn to roll up their sleeves.
The PC government needs to make that as easy for them as possible. And that means offering the shot in schools too