A Surrey elementary school that’s leading the country in vaccine donations through a federally funded program, has now had its donations matched by Kids Boost Immunity.
Students in five classes at Senator Reid Elementary have been using Kids Boost Immunity (KBI), which uses quizzes to earn vaccine donations, since the beginning of the 2018/2019 school year. During a presentation at the school on Tuesday, students announced during an assembly that they had answered 56,970 question and donated 3,255 vaccinations to UNICEF Canada.
Teacher Tanis Filiatrault said using KBI has helped students become “more aware of their capacity to make significant global impacts.”
“It is often difficult for even the most eager elementary students find ways to help the local and global community because of their age,” said Filiatrault. “Initially, students were motivated by a healthy sense of competition between classes, however, as students explored more lessons and gained knowledge of the importance of vaccinations and helping the marginalized, their motivation transitioned from competition to altruism.”
Ian Roe, national manager of Kids Boost Immunity said KBI wanted to honour the school for its “continuing generosity,” but when the organization offered to throw a pizza party for the school, Roe said the students and teachers instead asked that KBI instead use the money to buy more vaccines from UNICEF.
Roe said KBI decided to double up on the donations on the school’s behalf.
Grade 6 students Anmol Sidhu, Jeevan Nagra and Naureen Pannu told the students during the assembly what KBI is all about.
KBI is a Canadian health platform designed to raise literacy about immunization in schools. The program, according to kidsboostimmunity.com, is “designed to align with provincial curriculums in science and social studies around various tops related to immunization and global health.”
KBI was launched in April of 2018. Kids Boost Immunity was piloted in B.C. with funding from the B.C. Ministry of Health before receiving additional funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada to expand in schools across the country for the 2018/2019 school year.
The program’s website includes lesson plans that are each paired with an online quiz.
Roe previously told the Now-Leader that children can earn one vaccine per quiz as long as the students get 80 per cent on the quiz.
Anmol said since Senator Reid is the top school in the country, it is something the students “are very proud of because it’s allowed us to help people around the world.”
Naureen said it “felt good” to learn about vaccines and also help people.
“I felt happy and proud because I know that I am helping other people and the health of communities around the world become better. You’re not doing this to gain something, you’re doing it to give,” Naureen said.
Jeevan said she felt proud to know she was helping other people by protecting them so “their lives are not threatened by preventable diseases.”
“I know all this information so when I get a vaccine, I know that I am protected. By getting a vaccine, you help to protect others,” Jeevan said.
Shannon Turner, the executive director with the Public Health Association of B.C. which administers and manages KBI, and Megan Lawrence, who is part of UNICEF Canada’s 25th team and has travelled overseas to help deliver vaccinations, were both in attendance at the assembly.
Turner thanked the teachers for finding KBI “amongst the dozens of resources that are out there.”
“Public Health Association of British Columbia has a mission that it’s concerned with social justice, with protecting the health and populations and with performing public good. And you, have been a very important part of our mission.”
Lawrence said she loves that students have become such great advocates for kids around the world.
“Because of your efforts, UNICEF is able to bring vaccines quickly and safely where they need it the most.”