In the continuing fight against COVID-19, clear, trustworthy, and well-researched information is crucial in ensuring informed decision-making. As Canada continues its fight against misinformation and vaccine hesitancy in attempts to increase nationwide vaccination rates, the Canada Safety Council is focusing on the future of vaccination efforts by addressing our nation’s children.
Canada Safety Council to launch Vaccine Education and Awareness Program
The Canada Safety Council is creating a Vaccine Education and Awareness program, consisting of a video course and supporting materials to be delivered in schools, with the support of teachers across the country. Three versions of the program are being developed, corresponding with the three elementary grade divisions — one each for Primary (grades 1-3), Junior (grades 4-6) and Intermediate (grades 7-8) levels.
The program, which will receive funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Immunization Partnership Fund, will launch in schools across Canada in late September for the Junior and Intermediate levels. The Primary level will be released in October. Teachers will be provided with further details on how to acquire program materials, including a teacher’s guide and a video presentation for use in class with students.
“Providing information en masse has been effective in helping Canadians make informed decisions on vaccination” said Gareth Jones, President and CEO of the Canada Safety Council. “In this next phase of the pandemic our reach can be extended with targeted and tailored communication that provides information to specific audiences.”
“By addressing children directly with materials written in a language they can easily understand, it is our hope that this program will not only address fears surrounding COVID-19 vaccination but fears surrounding vaccines in general.”
Federal approval has not yet been granted for vaccines in any Canadian under the age of 12, though the Public Health Agency of Canada confirmed in early July that “all manufacturers of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized in Canada are conducting or planning studies in adolescents and younger children.”
“Scientifically researched information being presented by a credible source is key in addressing anxiety in this group before it becomes a major widespread issue,” said Jones. “We hope the information in this presentation helps inform not only the children exposed to it, but also members of their social circles and families as discussions on the topic are held.”
The program will be made available to the public at large in due time, though the focus will initially be placed on integrating the program into the school system.
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