COVID-19 vaccinations to begin in Alberta next week

Dec 9 2020, 3:18 pm

The first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will be administered in Alberta next Wednesday, December 16.

Alberta’s Minister of Health Tyler Shandro made the announcement at a livestreamed press conference on Wednesday, stating that the first round of Pfizer vaccines will go towards the province’s frontline healthcare workers.

“To protect those caring for our most vulnerable, the first 3,900 doses will go to ICU doctors and nurses, respiratory therapists, and long-term care workers throughout the province,” Shandro said.

“These staff are exhausted and they’ve put themselves at risk for 10 months. They need support and they need to know we’re there for them. I hope that seeing the immunizations begin will show them that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.”

The first vaccinations will need to be done at the site of delivery, which are two locations — one in Edmonton, one in Calgary — that are capable of storing the vaccine at the ultra low temperatures that are necessary.

This means that vaccinations will not be immediately available for residents of Alberta’s long-term care homes, but Shandro says that the hope is that by vaccinating care home workers, the risk will be reduced for residents.

The first workers to be offered the vaccinations will come from the Foothills Hospital and Peter Lougheed Centre in Calgary as well as the University of Alberta and Royal Alexandra Hospitals in Edmonton.

The Pfizer vaccine requires two doses, one month apart, before being effective, and those receiving their first dose will make appointments for their second at the time of vaccination.

Alberta expects another shipment of vaccines to arrive later this month, and AHS will be reaching out to healthcare workers who are eligible for the first vaccinations.

“Alberta is ready to deliver this vaccine. We’re ready to deliver it safely, appropriately, and without delay thanks to the detailed planning of my ministry’s public health team and AHS with the support of task force leader general Paul Wynnyk,” said Shandro.

“This early distribution is an important step in our continued fight against COVID, but we cannot take our foot off the gas with our adherence to the public health measures and the restrictions in place. It will be many months until the majority of Albertans are immunized, and until then we are each others’ best defence.”

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