Educators in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows will be getting the jab.
School-based staff in School District 42 were told Wednesday they are now being prioritized for vaccinations.
“Fraser Health will begin reaching out to school administrators in the Fraser Health region in the coming weeks to provide information on booking appointments,” wrote superintendent Harry Dhillon in a letter to staff.
“The order in which they will schedule these appointments will be based on community transmission risk and other epidemiological data.”
Fraser Health said the vaccinations will be provided over the coming weeks, and they will ensure staff are provided information on how to book appointments and the location of vaccine clinics.
The letter also reminds staff that those 40 years of age or older can already get the AstraZeneca COVIShield vaccine at pharmacies.
Trevor Takasaki, president of the Maple Ridge Teachers’ Association (MRTA), said the timelines are vague, and the union is hearing from many teachers already getting their vaccine based on age.
“A lot of people are telling us ‘I’ve got my jab already,’” he said.
“Hopefully the vaccine lowers their stress and anxiety,” he added. “But teachers care about kids, and everyone getting their vaccinations.”
He noted there is a trend toward younger COVID-19 cases.
Case counts have been rising in the general population in the two cities, and each day about 10 schools in the district are listed as having had what Fraser Health calls “exposure events.” These can be a single case, or multiple cases of the virus among the school’s students or staff members.
Takasaki noted educators have been frustrated to see vaccine that might have gone to educators diverted to Whistler and other hot spots where there have been outbreaks, which were found to have been caused by people not following public health orders.
“Teachers have no choice. They have to go to work,” said Takasaki.
There are approximately 1,100 teachers who will need the vaccine in SD42, as well as other school-based staff members.
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