In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, Montréal’s regional public health department has decided to postpone vaccination in schools until Fall 2021?2022. However, this decision will have very little impact on the epidemiology of the vaccine-preventable diseases targeted in the school program for Montréal students, because administration of these vaccines can be deferred for a period of time.
This measure concerns the following vaccines:
- Grade 4, elementary school: Hepatitis A and B, Human papilloma virus (HPV)
- Secondary 3: Updating vaccination, in particular Diphtheria-Tetanus, Meningococcus, HPV, Hepatitis B
Schools are usually ideal places to reach targeted clienteles and achieve high levels of vaccine coverage. For Montréal, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the current conditions clearly make it less likely that expected results can be achieved for the 2020–2021 school year.
In addition, with the city now a red zone, school nurses usually involved in vaccination are currently assigned to prevention and management of COVID cases and outbreaks in schools. In addition, a number of logistical issues (e.g. frequent and unforeseeable isolation of class bubbles) makes it difficult to conduct vaccination activities effectively.
Vaccination remains an essential public health service. This exceptional measure is due to the uncertainty associated with the epidemiological situation of COVID-19 in Montréal in winter and spring 2021. The goal to protect the population through vaccination is maintained despite this postponement.