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BCTF President supports vaccinating children, provincial mandate for teachers

BC Teachers Federation President Teri Mooring hopes the vaccination uptake for children 5-11 is strong, once the green light is given by Health Canada.

Pfizer is officially asking the country’s health agency for permission to use its COVID-19 vaccine on children within this age group as the dosage would only be one-third of the usual level.

Mooring told Vista Radio there is a huge gap in vaccination rates in certain parts of the north when comparing the adult and 12-17-year-old numbers.

“Sixty-six of the adult population in Peace River south is vaccinated while only 41% of the 12-17 years olds are vaccinated. In Peace River North, it’s 67% for adults (vaccinated), 44% for the youth.”

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A recent Angus Reid poll shows only 51% of Canadian parents would vaccinate their 5-11-year-old, while 23% would not.

Mooring hopes the unvaccinated figure is not an indicator of what we might see in the province.

“If that indicator proved to be true then children would be vaccinated at quite a lower rate in most parts of the province than the adult. And again, the concern is that would leave young children vulnerable.”

“This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated. Of course, more than 300-thousand of those folks that are unvaccinated are children that are not eligible for the vaccine, and what we are seeing is an increasing amount of children getting ill.”

In addition, discussions for a provincial mandate for teachers to be vaccinated for COVID-19 remain ongoing.

According to Mooring, school boards and a ministry committee are still combing over the details on what a potential policy would look like.

She mentioned it should be up to the province and not each individual school district to make the final call.

“Because it would be really hard to justify across this province why some teachers would need to be vaccinated as part of their employment and others would not. It would set up a really strange dynamic.”

“We would like to see a provincial mandate should one be imposed.”

with files from Vista Radio news wire

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