The government of Alberta expanded COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to include paramedics and emergency medical responders.
Health-care workers in COVID-19 units, medical and surgical units, operating rooms, health-care workers in emergency departments, home-care workers, the staff of long-term care and designated supportive living facilities, respiratory therapists, paramedics, and emergency medical technicians are now all eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
“We are expanding distribution to vaccinate more health care workers,” Premier Jason Kenney said.
“I’m pleased to announce that we’re expanding our vaccine program further than originally planned, starting right away, paramedics and emergency medical responders will also be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine,” he said.
“On behalf of Alberta paramedics, I want to thank Minister Shandro and Premier Kenney for hearing our concerns and acting on them. Adding paramedics to the early prioritization list recognizes the unique challenges that we face as front-line health-care workers serving in the midst of a pandemic. Alberta has already been a national leader in vaccine deployment and today’s announcement cements Alberta’s role as a leader in getting vaccines into the arms of health-care workers and vulnerable Albertans,” said the President of the Alberta Paramedic Association, Dusty Myshrall.
By the end of January, about 50,000 vaccine doses per week is anticipated to be administered.
“Our goal for the end of March is to vaccinate up to 200,000 people per week,” Kenney said.
“We are now in a position where we can rapidly administer volumes well beyond in terms of doses that we are currently being provided with. This is all dependent on the number of vaccine doses we receive,” he said.
Adding, “By expanding eligibility to paramedics and emergency medical responders today, we are well on our way to get those populations immunized.”
To ensure the vaccine distribution is successful, there must be staff and resource capacity to deliver the vaccine, there must be an adequate and ongoing supply of vaccine doses, and there must be Albertan’s ready to receive the vaccine.
“The bottom line is, Alberta’s capacity to give people the vaccine will soon outstrip available vaccine supplies, and we’re doing everything humanly possible to roll out these lifesaving vaccines as quickly as they arrive,” Kenney said.
Alberta Health Services (AHS), Alberta Health, and the COVID-19 vaccine taskforce teams are continuing to work to ensure any Albertan who wants to receive the vaccine will be able to.
“In many ways, Alberta is better positioned than any other part of Canada in respect to the vaccine to get it to the arms of as many people as fast as possible,” Kenney said.
“We’ve had a dedicated team working for months to ensure that once vaccines have arrived, we are ready to administer them. We have the best health care professionals in Canada helping to lead this effort,” he said.
Adding, “Every day, we are taking steps to improve our vaccination campaign, and expand eligibility to priority groups.”
In December, high priority health care workers in Edmonton and Calgary who were able to travel to vaccine administration sites were the first to receive the vaccine.
As the government of Alberta received more doses of the vaccine, all high priority health care workers across the province were eligible to receive the vaccine.
“Our health care workers have been there for us, and they need to know that we’re here for them,” said Minister of Health, Tyler Shandro.
Adding, “Each of these steps has represented real progress, and another opportunity to protect more Albertans from COVID-19.”