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Task force to lead delivery of COVID-19 vaccine in Alberta

Jason Kenney

Most Fort Macleod and district residents will have to wait until well into 2021 to get the new COVID-19 vaccine.

The government last week announced plans to make the vaccine available in three phases, beginning in early January.

“Around the world we know that there has been great progress on the development of COVID-19 vaccines,” Premier Jason Kenney said.

The province expects to receive doses of a Pfizer vaccine starting in early 2021, followed by doses of Moderna vaccine.

“And while we cannot control when these vaccines arrive in Alberta we can make sure that when we get them we are ready to roll them out as quickly as we can.”

Kenney during a news conference Wednesday announced a COVID-19 vaccine task force headed by Deputy Municipal Affairs Minister Paul Wynnyck.

The task force will deliver vaccine in three phases, beginning with long-term care and designated supported living residents and staff in those facilities.

Others to be vaccinated in the first phase are on-reserve First Nations people aged 65 and over, seniors aged 75 and older, and health care workers most needed to ensure workforce capacity and most likely to transmit COVID-19 to those at greatest risk.

Up to 435,000 Albertans will be offered a vaccine in the first three months of 2021.

The second phase is to begin in April and will include targetted populations that were not specified last week.

The third phase to start next fall will make the vaccines vailable to the general population.

“I want to be clear,” Kenney said. “Alberta’s government will not make any mandatory vaccination.”

“Some think this is controversial, but we don’t live in a country where government can inject you with something against your will.”

Kenney said he will get the vaccine as evidence he has confidence in its safety and effectiveness.

“I will certainly chose to receive this vaccine when it’s my turn, and I strongly urge others to do so.”

The plan is dependent on Health Canada approving one or more of the vaccines in development.

At present, no COVID-19 vaccines are approved for use in Canada.

Alberta has been allocated doses of two vaccines expected to be approved and available early next year.

“We will do everything possible to ensure that once the vaccine is available in Alberta, it will be distributed as rapidly and efficiently as possible,” Wynnyck said. “We are assigning a multi disciplinary team, drawn from across the public service, to focus exclusively on this issue.”

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