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SHA to begin administrating COVID-19 vaccines in elementary, high schools in June

Click to play video: 'SHA to begin administrating COVID-19 vaccines in elementary, high schools in June' SHA to begin administrating COVID-19 vaccines in elementary, high schools in June
WATCH: Saskatchewan is unveiling more details on its strategy to start vaccinating students aged 12 and up at school before the summer break. – May 19, 2021

Beginning in June, the Saskatchewan Health Authority will begin administering COVID-19 vaccines in both elementary and high schools across the province in an announcement made Tuesday.

Delivery dates are still being finalized with local education officials, but once confirmed the dates will be communicated to parents through individual schools.

In total, the province says there will 90,000 vaccines made available to those 12 years of age and older.

“Saskatchewan has been leading the country with one of the most aggressive vaccination programs and now we are building further on that with the addition of a school-based vaccination program,” said Paul Merriman, Saskatchewan’s health minister.

Read more: COVID-19: 2nd dose vaccine booking eligibility expands in Saskatchewan

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“The option of school vaccinations provides greater convenience for parents who want to see their children provided protection through vaccination.”

Pfizer will be the only brand of vaccine administered to children in this age group – the last group currently approved for immunization.

Mandie Hagel, of Regina, is a mom of three girls aged 23, 15 and 10. They’ve all been vaccinated except for the 10-year-old, who will be, when it becomes available to that age group.

She said she supports vaccination in schools, believing it will take a lot of stress off the shoulders of both parents and kids.

“Everyone wants to return to ‘normal,’ and even though a return to the way things were may not be possible, stepping into a new normality will only be possible if we get the kids vaccinated,” Hagel said.

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Health Matters: COVID-19 vaccine testing on children & ICU calorie counter – May 10, 2021

“I think a lot of people are wrapped up in ‘what about the kids?’ and ‘the vaccine came too soon,’ people are swirling with fear over all the what ifs.”

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Michelle Cantin lives in Estevan and has two daughters aged 16 and 13. While she’s vaccinated, she says there is some hesitancy regarding the vaccination of her children.

“It’s just so new and I feel like there should be more trials. I know that people are getting sick from it,” Cantin said. “I think they should still offer it in schools, but it should be up to the parent if their child gets it.”

The province said it hopes to expand vaccination to younger populations in the fall as vaccines are nationally approved for their use.

Drive-thru, walk-in and booked appointments will be reduced over the next three weeks during school immunizations to ensure students get vaccinated before the end of the school year.

Read more: COVID-19 rapid testing begins at 4 Regina Catholic schools

The province said pharmacy-booked appointments will continue to be available to all eligible age groups.

“Our public health teams are skilled and equipped to deliver immunizations within the school system,” said Scott Livingstone, SHA’s CEO. “We want to utilize this well-established system over the next three weeks, before school is out for the summer, to vaccinate as many eligible youth as we can and protect them and their families.”

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The province said written consent will be required for those aged 12-17, “primarily for tracking purposes, in case the child receives one dose at school and one elsewhere.  There will only be one consent required for both doses.”

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SHA shares data behind Regina school divisions’ switch back to in-person learning – Apr 30, 2021

Parents are being encouraged to talk to their children about consent regarding getting the shot.

For students being home schooled or who wish to be vaccinated earlier, the province has laid out options, provided below:

  • Any participating pharmacyin Saskatchewan;
  • By attending a drive-thru or walk-in clinic– note that these clinics will operate on reduced schedules in June in order to support school-based immunization during the week days;
  • Online bookingis available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week; or
  • By calling 1-833-SASKVAX (727-5829).

More information regarding the Pfizer vaccine can be found here.

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