Alberta’s priority healthcare workers will be first to receive vaccine

by Stephen Dafoe

The Government of Alberta is set to receives 25,350 does of the Pfizer vaccine starting the week of Dec. 21 and says it will start immunizing priority health-care workers across the province.

Respiratory therapists, intensive care unit physicians and staff, and eligible long-term care and designated supportive living workers across the province will receive the first at the Pfizer vaccine delivery site.

Special vaccine freezers are installed at eight locations across Alberta and the government says AHS staff are being trained to ensure quality and safety are maintained. Some 3,900 doses are expected to be received and injected this week for Calgary and Edmonton.

“This welcome news brings much-needed hope to Albertans, particularly health care workers, during this incredibly trying time in the pandemic,” said Health Minister Tyler Shandro in a media release Monday. “These staff are exhausted, and I hope seeing more vaccinations are on the way will show them there’s an end in sight. Albertans can be confident this vaccine is safe and will be administered quickly and efficiently.”

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health, said she was pleased to hear that Alberta will be able to immunize more front-line health-care workers and vulnerable Albertans before the end of the year. However, Hinshaw said it was not the end.

“We must continue to follow health measures to bend the curve, and until enough of us are immunized, we must continue to be each others’ vaccine,” she said.

The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is expected to arrive in Alberta later in December, once it receives final approval from Health Canada. Once approved, the initial shipment of Moderna vaccines will be used to immunize residents at long-term care locations beginning with those at highest risk, including two First Nations seniors facilities.

Phase 1, set for January, will include the following priority populations: residents of long-term care and designated supportive living facilities, seniors aged 75 and over and First Nations on reserve, Inuit and on-settlement Metis individuals aged 65 and over.

Phase 2, anticipated for April 2021; however, government has not yet determined eligibility.

The general public will be in Phase 3, expected later in 2021.

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