COVID-19: New Brunswick schedules in-school vaccination clinic in Saint John

Click to play video: 'New Brunswick begins in-school vaccination clinics' New Brunswick begins in-school vaccination clinics
WATCH: The provincial government is holding a vaccination clinic Thursday at a high school in Saint John, just weeks after dismissing the concept of in-school clinics. As Tim Roszell reports, the premier says more may be coming before the end of the school year.

The New Brunswick government has scheduled a COVID-19 in-school vaccination clinic Thursday in Saint John, just weeks after dismissing the concept.

Anglophone School District South sent an email to parents and families at four Saint John high schools Tuesday, inviting students to register online for a vaccination June 10 at Simonds High School.

Students from the other schools will be bused to Simonds or can arrange their own transportation.

The province also arranged buses for students in Bathurst and Edmundston to be transported to their local clinics for vaccinations.

Read more: COVID-19: N.B. misses vaccination target for 1st phase of reopening plan

The moves are a departure from the province’s previous position concerning vaccinating younger New Brunswick residents.

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When the province expanded its vaccine eligibility two weeks ago to include people ages 12 and up, Education and Early Childhood Devleopment Minister Dominic Cardy dismissed the notion of in-school vaccination clinics.

At the time, Cardy argued the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine — the only one approved by Health Canada for people 12 and over — needed to be stored in extremely cold temperatures, making the logistical demands of in-school clinics more difficult.

He said most staff who would be able to administer vaccines in schools were already working in other clinics.

The minister also said having students taken to local clinics by bus was considered, but deemed too challenging to pull off.

On Wednesday, Cardy said in an email statement to Global News, the province is working toward having a “normal” return to school in September. He said New Brunswick needs to vaccinate as many students as possible to make that happen.

Read more: COVID-19: What happens to unused vaccine doses in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia?

As of Wednesday, according to provincial data, roughly half of New Brunswick residents aged 12 to 19 have received at least one dose of vaccine.

Cardy said school districts and regional health authorities are working together to make it easier for vaccinations to occur.

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“This includes encouraging districts to work with their regional health authorities for local strategies that support our information campaign,” Cardy wrote. “As walk-in clinics have become increasingly available, the option of busing students has become more viable.

“An opportunity to try an in-school clinic at Simonds High School in Saint John was presented and we will continue to look for other opportunities in the coming days and weeks, as we continue on our path to green.”

Premier Blaine Higgs also said more in-school clinics are likely before the end of the school year.

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