Ottawa doctor, parents push for broader COVID-19 vaccine mandates ahead of back to school
OTTAWA -- With the start of school just over three weeks away and a fourth wave of COVID-19 setting in, some Ottawa parents are anxious over sending children back to the classroom.
'We need to do what we can to be as safe as we can," said Lindsay Lariviere.
Her 15-year-old daughter is fully vaccinated. Her youngest daughter, who is 11, ended up getting her first shot out of the province while the family was on vacation.
"In Alberta they are going by year of birth," she explained, adding she checked with her doctor before booking the vaccination in Alberta. "Because she was born in 2009 she was eligible there before she was eligible here."
For parents with young children, epidemiologist and Scientific Director with the Ontario Science Advisory Table Dr. Peter Juni said more research is needed.
"Children are not just small adults," said Dr. Juni. "You need to get the dose right, the interval between those doses right."
According to Dr. Juni, children should be able to roll up their sleeves by the end of the year. Until then, he says the best line of defense is vaccinating those who are already eligible.
As of Friday, Ottawa Public Health reported 84 per cent of residents 12 and older had received one dose, while 75 per cent are fully vaccinated.
Dr. Nili Kaplan-Myrth, who led the Jabapolooza clinics in Ottawa throughout the spring and summer, is pushing the province to mandate vaccines for everyone eligible.
“We’ve been working really hard trying to get all the 12-year-olds immunized so everybody in Grade 7 and 8 and beyond they would get back to school immunized," Dr. Kaplan-Myrth said.
The local family physician is now organizing a 'Safe September Rally’ at the Human Rights Monument on Elgin Street for Sunday, Aug. 22.
"It’s about people who are digging in their heels and saying, 'Well it's not required so I'm not going to get it, but if it were required I’d get it,'" she said. “They might be willing to with that little extra push.”
Meantime, Lariviere’s youngest daughter, who turns 12 on Monday, is scheduled for her second shot soon, a source of comfort for mom.
"There’s always going to be a concern,” said Lariviere. "She’ll be safer going to school fully vaccinated."