Jason Kenney appeared at a live press conference on Wednesday to announce details on the COVID-19 vaccines.
He said that the first deliveries of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will be in Canada within weeks, “and while we cannot control when these vaccines arrive in Alberta, we can make sure that when we get them, we are ready to roll them out as quickly as we can,” he said.
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Kenney noted that the vaccine will not be mandatory for Albertans, but that he plans to get vaccinated and he strongly encourages Albertans to do the same.
The premier also announced that he has named Municipal Affairs Deputy Minister Paul Wynnyk as the head of Alberta’s COVID-19 vaccine task force, which will be charged with executing the distribution of the vaccine throughout the province.
“This is an absolutely critical task,” Kenney said.
“Smooth and rapid vaccine distribution will not only be essential to our economic recovery, but they will be a matter of life and death for many Albertans and their families.”
Kenney stated that there are 30 vaccine depots throughout the province, three of which can receive and store the Pfizer vaccine, which must be kept at incredibly low temperatures.
The province expects to be able to administer 435,000 vaccines between January and March of 2021, accounting for around 10% of the population.
These vaccines will go to the province’s residents of long-term care and designated supported living and staff in those facilities, on-reserve First Nations individuals over the age of 65, seniors aged over 75, and healthcare workers needed to ensure workforce capacity and likely to transmit COVID-19 to those at greatest risk.
Phase two will see 30% of the population vaccinated between April and September, with the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force identifying priority groups based on information gathered in the first phase and input from Alberta’s medical experts. Phase three will see the vaccine offered to the general population by the fall of 2021.
More to come…