School-based COVID-19 vaccination program in Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon

By Ryan Rumbolt

Posted on January 14, 2022 at 11:51 a.m.

Dozens of school COVID-19 vaccination clinics will come to schools in Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon.

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown confirmed details of the upcoming program in an interview with Insauga.com on Friday, saying there will soon be 26 vaccination clinics in Peel Region schools.

Brown said that while existing vaccination centers have been effective in meeting adult vaccination demand, school-based clinics will be a way to increase vaccination rates in the 5-11 age group and in communities where adoption has been slower.

“There are a lot of shift workers who don’t have time to take their kids to get vaccinated but want to get their kids vaccinated,” Brown told insauga.com.

Brown said there will be parental consent from students being sent home and “no one will be vaccinated without parental consent.”

“Parents sign the forms, (children) go to school, they get vaccinated there,” he said.

A spokesperson for Peel Public Health (PPH) said the school vaccination program will begin with a pilot program starting later this month.

On Wednesday, the province announced plans to launch school-based vaccination clinics along with the distribution of millions of rapid antigen tests and untested N95 masks to school staff, as well as three-ply masks for students.

The province said parents will soon receive a form offering the ability “to safely and conveniently provide public health units with the authority to vaccinate their child at a school-based immunization clinic.”

Brown has been open about his desire for students to return to in-person learning after the province’s most recent shift to online classes.

In a motion passed Monday, Brown and the rest of Ontario’s big-city mayors said they support a call from pediatric experts and parents to resume in-person classes on Monday, Jan. 17.

The return to in-person learning combined with the new in-school vaccination program is “an opportunity to increase those vaccination rates,” Brown said.

But not everyone is so optimistic about a return to in-person learning next week.

On Wednesday, the Dufferin-Peel District Catholic School Board sent a letter to Education Minister Stephen Lecce expressing “serious concern, disappointment and frustration” over recent changes to management of COVID-19 in schools.

The board said it was particularly disappointed with the halt in COVID-19 reporting as well as the dismissal of students and staff when a positive case has been identified in a class or cohort.

The council called on the province to reconstitute the COVID-19 reporting system that was in place before the winter break. He also said the province should provide higher quality masks to students and an “adequate number” of rapid test kits to all students and staff.

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