Skip to content

Homecoming weekend, vaccines for kids top topics at region's weekly pandemic update

WLU says students will be held accountable for their actions this weekend and the health unit says it's actively planning to offer the COVID-19 vaccine to kids aged 5-11
Region of Waterloo Public Health 1
File photo of main office of Region of Waterloo Public Health

Homecoming weekend at area universities was one of the top topics at Friday's weekly COVID-19 update.

The university and local police have been warning students about potential repercussions of breaking the rules and hosting or attending large parties all week.

"There is a small group that says, 'you know what, we don't care about those rules, we're not here to do those sort of things,' and we have things in place to make sure that we can hold those sort of people accountable," said Dr. Ivan Joseph, Vice President of Student Affairs, Wilfrid Laurier University.

"That's not the community we want to build and, while we're not here to punish and shame them as the first step, it's part education, but eventually as you get past that education there has to be accountability and sanctions," Joseph said. "And some times those sanctions can escalate all the way to mean you're just not ready to be part of our community yet."

The health unit is echoing calls for students to keep their social bubbles small this weekend. It says, from a public health perspective, if a party is so big it needs to be broken up the damage is likely already done.

"Obviously prevention is better than the cure," said Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, Medical Officer of Health, Region of Waterloo Public Health.

Meantime, the health unit is also out with another message today -- and this one is directed toward parents.

With the recent announcement from Pfizer that it will soon be seeking regulatory approval for its COVID-19 vaccine to be used on kids aged 5-11, the health unit says it is actively preparing to make that happen.

"This is, perhaps, the first time in the vaccine rollout that we can be proactive, knowing that something is coming, and we want to take advantage of that," said Vickie Murray, Director of Pharmacy at Grand River Hospital and St. Mary's and the region's vaccination lead. "My goal is to have that plan in a nice little parcel so that, when we do get that approval, we're able to move quite quickly on it."

She says there are a lot of options on the table right now for what that may look like including offering the vaccine through the mass clinics, drive-through options, in schools, primary care settings, and pharmacies.

Murray says the health unit is also working on its messaging, hoping to have educational information and resources ready and available for parents and kids as soon as possible.

"To do that pre-thinking knowing that this is coming, at some point, start talking about it in your family now, start thinking about it in your family now, what you feel comfortable with, what you feel safe with, and understanding the information and the material that is out there and how it applies to you," Murray said.

"We are really trying to pull that all together and I do hope that we'll be able to give some regular updates as that planning continues."

Rogers Sports & Media
230 The Boardwalk Kitchener, ON, N2N 0B1
© 2006-2021 Rogers Sports & Media. All rights reserved.