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School, Minister Elliott: “Our weapon is vaccines”

TORONTO – Hope, to eradicate Covid-19 among children, is placed in the vaccine. This was reiterated today – just a day after Pfizer formally asked Health Canada to approve its vaccine for use in children between the ages of five and 11 – by Health Minister Christine Elliott. As soon as the green light arrives, Elliott said clearly, we will be “ready to go”: “We are actively working with public health units to draw up a plan for the administration of the vaccine, we will be ready – as soon as it is approved by Health Canada – to distribute it and make it available to children throughout the province – said the minister – I know that parents are worried but they do not have to be because we will be ready, we are actively working on this and are in the process of finalizing the plan right now.” 

The Ministry of Health is currently reviewing plans for the distribution of the vaccine to school-age children, submitted by all 34 public health units, plans that vary based on geographical considerations, but generally involve the use of pharmacies, primary care physicians and public health units. But also, in all likelihood, clinics in schools.

In Toronto alone, there are about 200,000 children between the ages of five and 11.

Meanwhile, today the Silverthorn Collegiate Institute reopened the entrance to students, which remained closed for a week after the confirmation of 11 cases of Covid-19 among students: in recent days no other infections have been detected. But as this Etobicoke high school reopens, Toronto Public Health has reported outbreaks of the virus in three other institutions that have been allowed to remain open: the schools in question are Michael Power – St Joseph High School, Africentric Alternative School and John McCrae Public School. “We are carefully investigating and closely following our school community to inform close contacts and ask them to stay at home, monitor symptoms and undergo testing,” the health unit tweeted.

Infections in schools in the province in the last twenty-four hours have stood at 173 of which 157 are students and 16 teachers. The trend, however, compared to the previous weeks, seems to point in the right direction.

The count represents a slight decrease from this period last week, when 269 cases were reported over a four-day period. The total number of active cases associated with the public school system now 1,200, the lowest number since September 21. Nearly half of the active cases – 556 – are found in school curricula in Greater Toronto and the Hamilton area. Only one school, however, remains closed in the whole province: Greenholme Junior Middle School in Etobicoke.

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