by Stephen Dafoe
The Government of Alberta says it is prepared to receive and distribute COVID-19 vaccines, initially for up to 435,000 Albertans, roughly 10 per cent of the population.
Alberta appointed retired Lt.-Gen. Paul Wynnyk, deputy minister of Municipal Affairs as chair of a new COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force.
“Alberta is ready to roll out a life-saving vaccine from Day 1. We have a well-developed plan, that begins with vaccinating the most vulnerable,” said Premier Jason Kenney in a media release Wednesday. “Our efforts will be led by the former commander of the Canadian Army, with input from top public health experts.”
Currently, no COVID-19 vaccines are approved by Health Canada. Wynnck’s task force will oversee the implementation of the province’s immunization delivery program, once vaccine’s are approved.
Alberta is expecting both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for Albertans most at-risk between January and March 2021. Phase 1, expected to be administered in early January will include long-term care and designated supported living residents and staff in those facilities, on-reserve First Nations individuals over age 65, seniors aged 75 and older, and health-care workers most needed to ensure workforce capacity and who are most likely to transmit COVID-19 to those at greatest risk.
The 2nd Phase is expected to begin by April 2021 and will target prioritized populations. Phase 3 will involve rolling out vaccinations to the general Alberta population, anticipated to start by fall 2021.
Kenney said the vaccine will not be mandatory, and said during a press conference Wednesday that his government will reverse legislation on the books for nearly 100 years that gives government the power to mandate vaccination.
Provincially, 1,685 more confirmed cases in 18,432 tests were reported Wednesday. The positive test rate is 9.2%. There are currently 504 in hospital and 97 in ICU.
Locally, Morinville has six new cases and two more recoveries for a total of 46 active cases. Sturgeon County has 14 new cases, ten more recoveries for a total of 100 active cases.
For complete details including lab testing data and comorbidities, visit https://www.alberta.ca/stats/covid-19-alberta-statistics.htm