School-based COVID-19 immunizations to begin in Manitoba next week

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School-based COVID-19 immunization clinics will begin in Manitoba next week.

On Monday, the province announced the clinics will be offered during school hours and in some cases, will be available outside of school hours as a pop-up clinic for the community.

"Parents and guardians who wish to be immunized with their children or attend their child’s immunization can do during the pop-up clinic outside of school hours," the province said in a release.

Dr. Joss Reimer, the medical lead of the Vaccination Implementation Task Force, said the first clinics are expected to be launched on Sept. 22, with the program growing from there.

"Parents and the school community will be notified when a clinic is coming to their school," said Reimer.

She noted consent for kids will be handled differently compared to other vaccine sites, such as supersites.

"In the schools, young people who are aged 16 and older are considered mature minors and can sign their own consent form," said Reimer. "However, the difference is for people under the age of 16 because they will be required to have written consent from their parent or guardian to be immunized at a clinic that is held in a school during school hours."

Reimer said after-school clinics will also be held that will be open for the entire community and will also provide a chance for students to attend with their parents.

"Children who are under 16 and do not have written consent can return to the after-school clinic to go through the informal consent process, the same as they do at supersites or pop up clinics, where a medical professional will determine their ability to decide to be immunized."

Spots for the after-school clinics can be booked online or at the call centre. Reimer noted walk-in appointments will also be available.

Reimer said each health region is working with school districts to create a schedule for the clinics.

The school-based clinics are scheduled to run for four to six weeks.