Dozens of school children at Margaret Manson Elementary School were lining up in the gymnasium to get the coveted COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday.
This is the second dose the K through grade sixers are receiving.
“Then I won’t be sick, and if I do get sick it won’t be as bad,” Adeline Cabrera, a first-grader, told Global News.
Margaret Manson is one of 25 elementary schools of the Lester B. Pearson School Board (LBPSB) that has arranged for students to receive their second dose.
“Convenience for the parents and comfort for the children. They’re in their own environment. They’re with their classmates,” Helen Babouras, a retired registered nurse who is back on the job to help with the vaccination campaign, told Global News.
Nurses, heath-care administrators, teachers and others are all part of the logistics to help the COVID-19 vaccination campaign operate in school with surgical precision.
The need to inoculate as many students as possible is great as the five-to-11-year-old age group lags behind the rest of the population 12 years and older.
Only 61 per cent of the children have received at least one dose, compared with 92 per cent of the population 12 years and up.
And 24 per cent of five- to 11-year-olds have been vaccinated twice, compared with 89 per cent for the 12 and up.
“It’s a little worrisome. I think everybody needs to get out there and get their vaccinations because we would like to eventually go back to something normal,” Stephanie Hérault, Margaret Manson Elementary School Principal, told Global News.
Parents are allowed to accompany their children to help reassure the kids and keep them calm.
The principal says while only 50 students were being vaccinated in school on Thursday, many parents are getting their kids vaccinated at other clinics.
“We don’t have a lot coming today because I believe many parents brought them to the centres as soon as they could,” Hérault said.
The efforts to vaccinate children are considered vital to helping keep those with underlying conditions from getting sick.
Admission rates in hospitals for youths under the age of 18 remained stable for most of the month of January, according to a recent report issued by the Institut national d’excellence en santé et en services sociaux (INESSS).
It’s a similar situation at the Montreal Children’s Hospital, where admissions haven’t declined much in recent weeks, according to Dr. Earl Rubin, the director of the infectious diseases division.
Rubin says while it’s important that vaccinations of youths continue, it’s equally as important that adults receive their booster shots as the second-dose efficacy wanes against the Omicron variant.
He adds that admissions at the Children’s Hospital won’t likely decrease until more kids are vaccinated.
“I have to say I’m concerned just in terms of schools and ongoing transmission within school,” he told Global News.
The LBPSB in-school vaccination campaign continues until Feb. 16.