VICTORIA — Premier John Horgan says vaccine mandates for workers in British Columbia's schools are a last resort and elected board trustees know what's needed for their communities rather than the province enforcing such decisions.
Parent groups and the BC Teachers' Federation have called for all school districts to introduce a COVID-19 vaccine mandate in the absence of a provincewide order, while the New Westminster board of education has asked for a legal opinion on making the shots mandatory.
Horgan says he understands the anxiety parents have to protect their children and to make sure that governments and school boards are doing everything they can to keep kids safe.
An independent group that analyzes the pandemic in B.C. released new modelling, which says cases among children rose steeply in the Fraser, Interior and Vancouver Island health authorities as they account for nearly half of the province's unvaccinated residents.
It says COVID-19 infections among those under 12 are higher than at any other time in the pandemic and it predicts at least 20 per cent will have had the virus within two years.
Horgan says Health Canada is reviewing COVID-19 immunizations for children aged five to 11, and officials are working on logistics of delivering those vaccines if and when that approval comes.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 7, 2021.
The Canadian Press