Vaccination rates in Houston and area remain relatively low. (File photo)

Vaccination rates in Houston and area remain relatively low. (File photo)

School district counters social media comments on vaccine clinics

And Houston remains low on vaccination rate list

The school district is continuing to respond to suggestions its schools are hosting COVID vaccination clinics during instructional hours, says its superintendent.

It first faced comments in late spring after one Northern Health clinic was held at Houston Secondary School after students were dismissed for the day.

“We have not changed our approach to host clinics after school hours at our schools,” said Mike McDiarmid from School District 54 last week in repeating the district’s earlier stance that should Northern Health wish to run a clinic after school hours, the district would make its facilities available.

“Unfortunately, there has been some Facebook gossip here and there that we are offering them during the instructional day,” he said.

“When the community reaches out to us or schools we do let them know the facts of the matter.”

Minutes of a school board operations meeting in June described using schools for vaccination clinics as “contentious”.

Vaccination statistics as of Sept. 28 continue to indicate Houston and area is on the low end of first and second doses among eligible people over the age of 12 within the Northern Health region and within the province.

As of that date, 73 per cent have received a first dose and 63 per cent a second dose compared to 77 per cent for first doses and 67 per cent for second doses in the north and more than 88 per cent for first doses and 80.8 per cent for second doses within the province.

In Burns Lake proper the rate is 79 per cent for first doses and 68 per cent for second doses while south of Burns Lake the rate is 62 per cent for first doses and 56 per cent for second doses and 71 per cent for first doses and 65 per cent for second doses north of Burns Lake.

That’s in contrast to Kitimat, for example, where the first dose rate is 98 per cent and 82 per cent for second dose.

Among young people between 12 and 17, the first dose rate in Houston is 55 per cent and 41 per cent for second doses.

In Burns Lake the youth rate is 60 per cent for first doses and 42 per cent for second doses while it is 31 per cent for first doses and 23 per cent for second doses south of Burns Lake and 47 per cent for first doses and 36 per cent for second doses north of Burns Lake.

Northern Health continues to run clinics in rented space at a Coast Mountain College building every Tuesday from 9 a.m. to noon and every Thursday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. for those with appointments and for drop ins.

Additionally, there’s a drop in clinic each Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Northern Health does set up pop clinics elsewhere on occasion.