Posted on Jul 19, 2021


EDMONTON – School-age students should be offered vaccines when they return to school this fall in order to protect them from COVID-19, says the Alberta NDP caucus.


“We must do more to get these numbers up. We are concerned that with our rapid reopening many Albertans may assume one dose is enough. It’s not,” said NDP Leader Rachel Notley. 


Currently, only about 36 per cent of Albertans aged 12-14 have two shots, and that number rises slightly to about 41 per cent among those aged 14-19. To help boost those numbers, Alberta’s NDP is calling for the UCP Government to commit to a school-based COVID-19 immunization program for all eligible students at every public, private, and charter school in the province when classes resume this fall.


The program would be opt-in, with parents choosing whether their child is vaccinated at school.


“We have seen great success with community-based pop-up vaccine clinics. Vaccine clinics at popular summer hotspots like zoos, amusement parks and more just make sense. It’s clear that when we bring the vaccines to Albertans, they are more likely to get them.”


The Government of Saskatchewan has already committed to its own school vaccination program, with their first doses rolling out last month before the end of the school year. Vaccine uptake among young people in Saskatchewan is slightly higher than Alberta with 64.8 per cent of those aged 12-17 having one dose.


“We’re seeking a commitment today to do the right thing for Alberta’s youth and we are happy to assist the Government in any way to make this vaccination program a reality,” said Notley, noting the UCP government has six weeks to create a program that would be ready for the first day of classes.


Alberta already holds school-based vaccination programs in Grades 1, 6 and 9 to vaccinate against viruses like Hepatitis B, meningitis and diphtheria.