MONTREAL -- Quebec teachers can now get vaccinated, but they must do so outside of class hours, which is unacceptable, according to their union.

Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ) is calling for more flexibility for these 73,000 teachers at the preschool, elementary, secondary and vocational levels in 58 English school boards and French school service centres.

"While the government has been calling on the general public to get vaccinated for weeks, it is not even setting an example for its own education and early childhood employees, who are major hotspots for COVID-19 and its variants," said CSQ president Sonia Ethier in a press release.

"These people are penalized because they have fewer available time slots than the general population and will have to wait longer for an appointment that respects the government's directive," she added.

It is important to note that there are many facilities, both public and private, that provide release time for immunization. The refusal to release education personnel during working hours is not consistent with the public health's desire to vaccinate as many people as possible, and as quickly as possible.

Quebec Solidaire had proposed that all workers be given a four-hour paid break so that they could go and get vaccinated, as is the case for voting.

The party even asked that this "vaccine break" be imposed on employers by decree or by quickly amending the Act respecting labour standards.

Ethier is also asking Quebec to include CEGEP and university personnel in the list of essential workers targeted by the current vaccination campaign.

This article was produced with the financial support of Facebook and The Canadian Press News Bursaries.