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COVID-19 vaccinations for Central Okanagan teachers, staff underway

Kelowna Secondary School on Raymer Ave.
April 29, 2021 - 1:41 PM

Teachers and staff in the Central Okanagan school district will begin getting COVID-19 vaccinations this afternoon.

School board chair Moyra Baxter said the vaccinations are starting this afternoon, April 29, at three different schools in the Central Okanagan including Mount Boucherie Secondary in West Kelowna, Kelowna Secondary School and at Lake Country’s George Elliot Secondary.

“It may change because, of course, Interior Health is in charge of this,” she said.

The vaccination clinics will open this afternoon through until the evening, and are expected to run until at least Monday, May 3.

READ MORE: Interior Health is behind, inconsistent on posting COVID exposures in schools

Those who are 30 or older will go to the school sites to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine and those under 30 will receive a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at the Trinity Baptist Church immunization site, she said.

There are about 4,000 teachers and staff in the district, with teachers making up about 2,200 of that number, she said.

“Interior Health has sent information out throughout the school district and principals will be working with their teachers… and support staff to make sure everyone who wants a vaccination is on the list."

According to a recent school board report, Kevin Kaardal, school district superintendent, stated there has been a rise in exposures in schools and the school district is working closely with Interior Health to monitor the increasing numbers.

Kaardal encouraged everyone to follow the medical advice of provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and the Ministry of Health to bring down the exposure numbers in the Central Okanagan community and schools.

“With a recent increase in vaccine supply, we can resume our immunization program for frontline workers, including educational staff. For educators, we are starting with the Central Okanagan which has higher COVID-19 rates before expanding throughout the Interior and we are working directly with employers to coordinate clinics for their staff,” according to an email from Interior Health.

The Central Okanagan school district has had the highest number of potential COVID-19 exposures in recent weeks than any other school district in the Interior. Within the last two weeks, 16 potential exposures were reported at Central Okanagan schools, according to Interior Health’s website.

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