TORONTO, August 17, 2021 – The Children’s Health Coalition appreciates the minimum standard policy outlined today by the Chief Medical Officer of Health regarding vaccination of some healthcare workers and plans for policies for education and other children’s sectors. It’s critical to protect children in all settings by ensuring vaccination of adults in their ecosystem – whether that’s in the community, in schools and in healthcare and social service settings.
We look forward to reviewing the directive in greater detail with a view to implementing necessary measures promptly in our organizations, where between 70% and 90% of our patients and clients are under the age of 12 and currently ineligible to be vaccinated. We anticipate additional measures will be required to support and protect our largely unimmunized populations and ensure consistency across children’s health care.
With growing concerns about the fourth wave and the spread of the Delta variant, vaccination of eligible adults is another important layer of additional protection we can provide our children.
The return to in-person learning is essential to the health, wellbeing and development of children. The pandemic and school closures have taken an enormous toll on children, youth and families. The single most important thing we can do to improve the mental, physical and developmental health of children is to ensure schools open as planned this Fall.
Extending vaccine eligibility to those turning 12 by the end of this year is welcome news. We need additional measures to quickly improve vaccination rates of 12 to 17-year-olds including targeted education campaigns, incentive-based and equity driven strategies, as well as immunization policy and increased vaccination of all those eligible in schools.
About the Children’s Health Coalition: The Children’s Health Coalition is a growing collective of children’s health organizations, including CHEO, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, SickKids, McMaster Children’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital – London Health Sciences Centre, Children’s Mental Health Ontario and Empowered Kids Ontario.