As Chief Medical Officer of Health for Alberta, I’m asking you to help save lives by getting your COVID-19 vaccine.
As a third-generation Albertan who grew up in Sylvan Lake, I know that people in regions like this one care about their neighbours and take pride in protecting each other.
A community isn’t just a place – it’s a group of people who look out for each other, like my great-grandmother did as a founding member of the Centreville Women’s Club. This club was an amazing group of women who helped strengthen the fabric of their rural community. Among other things, they organized spring strawberry socials and fall turkey dinners to raise money for good causes and bring neighbours together.
Just like my great-grandmother, we all know that our actions can have big impacts on the people around us. Unfortunately, as of July 1, only 37.9% of eligible Albertans in this area have gotten at least one dose of vaccine. This puts our loved ones and neighbours at greater risk.
We need more people to get the vaccine to help build a ring of protection around this community. That’s why I’m asking everyone to please get vaccinated today. If you haven’t booked your appointment, do it now. If you tried before now, and couldn’t get in, please try again. New spots open up every day.
Getting the vaccine will protect you. It’ll also help protect those you love from COVID-19 and the severe and long-term health issues that can result. COVID-19 looks for any opportunity to spread, which is why just one case can quickly infect many people if they’re not vaccinated. Let’s not allow that to happen in the County of Forty Mile.
Vaccines work – they prevent serious illness and save lives. Since January 1, 96% of people in Alberta who caught COVID-19 either had not gotten the vaccine or were in still the two weeks that it takes before your body develops immunity. No vaccine can provide 100% protection, but these vaccines come amazingly close.
Around the world, we see the same story. Places where most people have gotten the vaccine are seeing the fewest cases. They’re also seeing the best protection against hospitalizations, deaths and other severe outcomes against new variant strains.
These vaccines are new, but they’re proving incredibly safe. They have passed rigorous testing and review. We have been watching extremely closely for any side effects. Of the 3.9 million doses administered in Alberta, only 0.015% have had a report of any adverse outcome. Most of these were minor and went away on their own, like diarrhea or a rash.
In comparison, we know the health risks that COVID-19 can bring if you don’t have a vaccine. More than 228,000 Albertans have caught the virus. More than 9,500 have ended up in the hospital, and more than 2,200 have died. The safest choice is to get the vaccine.
The end of the pandemic is near, and we are so close to returning to a more normal way of life.
But to get the best protection and tame COVID-19, we need people in the County of Forty Mile and all across Alberta to get vaccinated quickly. Otherwise, the virus will continue to circulate, mutate and spread.
If you get vaccinated, you can enter the Open for Summer Lottery. There are three draws for $1 million in prize money. You can also win travel prizes, and much more. For more details, visit alberta.ca/lottery.
Please protect yourself and this community by getting your shot today. For information on how to book your appointment, visit alberta.ca/vaccine or call Health Link at 811.
Thank you for getting vaccinated so our communities can be protected and life can safely get back to normal.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw
Chief Medical Officer of Health, Alberta