“I’m excited”: young students are starting to get vaccinated in Quebec
MONTREAL – Hundreds of children embarked on a historic excursion Monday as they were among the first of their age cohort to attend a scheduled COVID-19 vaccine appointment.
Some students from FACE school in downtown Montreal were vaccinated at the Palais des congrès, while others were vaccinated directly at their school. It’s part of a coordinated effort between school boards and local health authorities and now the province is looking for other new ways to distribute the first doses to this younger age group.
Some students braved the jab with a mixture of emotions.
“I could just feel the push, it didn’t hurt too much. And now I don’t feel anything anymore, ”said Sihoo Byun.
“It hurts a little bit, it hurts to be honest,” said Carmen Sarafzadeh.
Yet the students encouraged others to stress the importance of getting the vaccine.
“I’m super excited. It’s easier to go out and do things with friends and stay safe for others as well,” said Nika Khan-Lau.
“It’s great to see how the school has brought us here and we have the chance to get the vaccine and it’s really going to help us through faster and more safely,” said Sienna Therren.
Organized between school boards and regional health authorities, some schools had vaccination clinics on site while others sent students to nearby vaccination centers.
“As an educator working in schools and seeing the consequences and challenges with Covid, today is a celebration,” said FACE Deputy Director Jennifer Harriet. “We need the students to be protected to resume activities.”
Across the province, only a third of children between the ages of 12 and 17 have been vaccinated. Now, the province is rolling out new strategies like the vaccine-o-bus in the Quebec region to increase vaccinations among groups that are lagging behind in first doses.
“This is the kind of initiative for people who might not speak English or French or unfamiliar languages,” Quebec’s Minister of Public Security said at the launch of the vaccine-o-bus on Monday. “But also people who are perhaps a little less inclined to make an appointment and go alone to be vaccinated.”
With 75 percent of Quebecers aged 12 and over already receiving a dose, the government hopes programs like this will increase that number to nearly 100.