SURREY (NEWS 1130) – B.C. is expected later this week to lay out its vaccination plan for children between the ages of 12 and 17, and the head of the Surrey school district can’t wait for that time to come.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said on Monday that plans are expected to be unveiled in the coming days.
Surrey Schools Superintendent Jordan Tinney, who is in charge of the largest school district in the province, says students could begin getting their first shots by the end of June, marking a major milestone.
“It also means that we can look towards not only a summer that looks much more normal but a fall that really is a return to life just as we once knew it,” he said in a video posted online.
“For parents and for students, please look for information this week — likely mid-week — about how to register your child to be vaccinated, should you wish them to be.”
Vaccinations for children and what we're seeing on the ground in our cases. Message for parents and staff. Weekly video here: https://t.co/cnlpVPWAXz #sd36learn @whiterockcity @CityofSurrey 4 days this past week with zero adult cases. Great news!
— Jordan Tinney (@jordantinney) May 17, 2021
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was approved by Health Canada on May 5 for emergency use in children as young as 12. Health Canada’s updated approval was effective immediately, giving provinces and territories the green light to begin putting plans together.
B.C. announced the same day that it would offer the vaccine to children in the approved age group, saying kids could receive shots by the end of the school year.
Tinney points to the impact of teachers and other school staff getting vaccinated, saying case counts among adults in Surrey schools have dropped dramatically since that effort began.
The Surrey school district has been one of the hardest hit by COVID-19. It’s seen a slew of positive cases that have created challenges during an already unprecedented year.
“What we’ve seen in our staff is absolutely the same thing, just a plummeting in the number of cases of staff members who are reporting as positive with COVID,” Tinney explained. “When I look back in the first 10 days of May, we had seven adults reporting that they had tested positive with COVID. Since then, since May 11th, we’ve only had two. We’ve had four days when no one has reported positive with COVID, so clearly the vaccines are working.”
Tinney is hopeful this decline will continue.