Eastern Ontario Health Unit issues new vaccination policy for coaches, officials and volunteers for indoor youth sports

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The Eastern Ontario Health Unit is requiring all coaches, officials and volunteers aged 12 and older to be fully vaccinated to participate in indoor organized sports this fall.

The health unit has issued a Letter of Instruction, outlining a new COVID-19 vaccination policy for coaches, officials and volunteers to help protect children who can't be vaccinated against novel coronavirus.

Starting Monday, all owners, operators and persons responsible for indoor facilities that host organized sports must confirm proof of vaccination for coaches, officials and volunteers aged 12 and older associated with indoor organized sports.

"As the fourth wave of the pandemic causes cases in our region to increase, I am taking these measures to keep children and youth in our communities safe," said medical officer of health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis. "Given that children under 12 can’t get vaccinated against COVID-19 at the moment, the best way to protect them is to ensure that the adults around them are."

The Eastern Ontario Health Unit says the Letter of Instruction does not affect the exception that players between the ages of 12 and 17 do not need to show proof of vaccination if they are entering a sports facility for the sole purpose of practicing their sport.

Under Ontario's proof of vaccination system, youth under the age of 18 participating in indoor organized sports, including training, practices, games and competitions, do not need to be fully vaccinated.

In addition to checking proof of vaccination for coaches, officials and volunteers, indoor facilities must continue to comply with all other public health measures related to screening, physical distancing, use of personal protective equipment and maintaining a log with contact information of every member of the public who enters the facility.

The new vaccination policy for coaches, officials and volunteers aged 12 and older comes after the Eastern Ontario Health Unit reported 28 new cases on Saturday, 31 cases on Friday and 35 cases on Thursday.