Nova Scotia’s top doctor wrote to families of students about the importance of getting a vaccine ahead of the school year—and urged those eligible but still unvaccinated to get their shot as soon as possible. The province has not, however, released its back to school plan.
In a letter sent to families of students from regional centres for education, chief medical officer Dr. Robert Strang thanked the community for their efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19 over the last school year. What’s needed for continued COVID prevention is widespread immunization, he said.
“We all need two doses of vaccine to be fully protected, and it takes two weeks after your second dose to have full immunity. The first day of school is now about four weeks away,” reads the letter signed by Strang. “If you have children 12 and over who haven’t yet had their first or second dose of vaccine, I strongly encourage you to make an appointment for them as soon as you can.”
Given that Nova Scotia’s youngest students are not able to be vaccinated, reaching maximum vaccine rates among all other residents is the best way to protect the population as a whole, he goes on to explain.
Currently, Pfizer is working on vaccine trials for children. The pharmaceutical giant expects to submit vaccine safety data for kids aged five to 11 by the end of September. Moderna is also testing its vaccine in kids, and says it will submit results by the middle of the fall. Following the submission of data, it’ll be up to Health Canada to approve of the use of vaccines for kids. (Exactly how long it will take from the data being submitted to potential approval by Health Canada to the time a child under 11 can get their jab, however, is still uncertain.)
Nova Scotia has yet to release its back to school plan for managing COVID in the classrooms. Strang says in the letter it’ll be “available soon” and that public health is working closely with the education department on creating a detailed plan.