Saskatchewan is the first province in Canada to roll out a general school vaccine program. This program now includes those 12 years and older. The vaccine uptake is voluntary.
In the next couple of weeks, the Saskatchewan Health Authority will bring vaccines to students in 43 cities and towns in the province. Those 13 and older can legally choose to get the vaccine on their own. Those who are younger will need their parents’ consent.
Rashawn Taniskishayinew, a 14-year-old kid from Regina is the first in his family to get a COVID-19 vaccine:
“I usually do all the paperwork in my house so it was good to have a school do it so then it would be easier to go in and come out instead of having to go through the trouble of making an appointment.”
Aliyah Prive, an 18-year-old Grade 12 student at Scott Collegiate, also got vaccinated:
“At first, I was a little bit scared because I have a fear of needles. But as I sat down, the people made sure I was calm and they made sure that I didn’t move or flinch … And it was actually pretty easy. It was like a second.”
Colin Furness, an infection control specialist with the University of Toronto, supports this plan:
“I love it as a strategy. It’s enormously efficient and it’s enormously effective. Trying to huckster thousands or tens of thousands of families to find time to book an appointment, to go to a clinic, to get this done … those are all barriers. For some families, there’s vaccine hesitancy. For others, it’s just sheer logistical difficulty.”
He believes that this is one of the best and fastest methods of combating the pandemic:
“In many cases, people who are most at risk are at the back of the line for a vaccination. That’s how it works when you set it up as something where the onus is on people to figure out what to do. So the idea that we could do this in schools embraces equity. It says that that everyone’s going to get a chance to get this vaccine under similar conditions. It’s a great thing.”