Ontario Liberals pledge to add COVID-19 vaccine to school immunization list

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OTTAWA — The Ontario Liberals pledged Saturday to add COVID-19 vaccination to the immunization schedule for schools, if elected, though parents could still get “conscience” exemptions.

Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca said the best way to get back to normal is to make classrooms safer.

“There are nine existing vaccines … in that roster of universal required vaccines,” Del Duca said during a campaign stop in Ottawa. “We will add the COVID-19 vaccine to that list. And we’re going to do that because the science is settled on this.”

But Del Duca said current exemptions would continue to apply.

Parents can exempt their kids from the school vaccination requirements through either a statement of medical exemption or for reasons of conscience or religious beliefs.

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Provincial data shows about 35 per cent of children aged 5-11 have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 93 per cent of teens aged 12-17 have received two doses.

The Liberals say Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford did not do enough to promote COVID-19 vaccination, particularly for children.

“I think a lot of parents in this province have seen the current leader of the province effectively wave a white flag of surrender on vaccinations because Doug Ford, from the very beginning, has wanted this to be all over,” Del Duca said at a city playground, where a lone heckler shouted about Liberals and vaccine mandates.

“He’s wanted to just wave a magic wand and for COVID to be over while he’s been plotting his re-election campaign.”

The Liberals would also require all front-line educators to be immunized.

The NDP has also called for COVID-19 vaccination to be added to the school list and mandatory vaccinations for teachers and education workers.


© 2022 The Canadian Press

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