By Gillian Slade
Alta. Newspaper Group
The province says people in seniors’ residences are being offered the COVID-19 vaccination even if they are not in government subsidized care.
“All residents and staff in long-term care and designated supportive living facilities in the province are receiving the vaccine. This applies to both those accessing care through Alberta Health Services or outside of it,” said Tom McMillan, communications for Alberta Health.
In some facilities there may be a mixture of seniors, some receiving long-term care while others are in supportive living or are living independently.
McMillan says in mixed sites all the residents could still be sharing a common area within the residence and in those cases the vaccine is offered to all residents.
“Generally speaking, yes, though each facility’s vaccinations would be assessed and determined by AHS,” said McMillan. “We ask all Albertans to be patient as we roll out the vaccine program. Our focus is on the most vulnerable first.”
Alberta had administered 66,953 doses of the vaccine by the end of the day on Jan. 13.
Premier Jason Kenney warned last week that Alberta could reach the end of its supply of vaccine this week. The supply of vaccine is acquired by the federal government, then shipped to the provinces but it was announced Friday that Pfizer-BioNTech is delaying shipment to Canada due to production issues.
McMillan says that as more vaccine arrives the province will expand its current approach.
“Phase 1B will offer the vaccine to all seniors 75 years of age and over, no matter where they live,” said McMillan.
On Thursday afternoon Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, announced that there are still vaccine doses available for health-care workers this week.
Minister of Health Tyler Shandro said there are in fact 16,000 appointments available for the weekend that are open for health-care workers who are urged to respond to Alberta Health Services to make arrangements to get the vaccination.