The provincial government’s announcement that roughly 29,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine will be administered in Alberta by the end of the month might be the best Christmas gift Albertans could have asked for.
Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced the good news Dec. 14, stating the provincial government has secured a second set of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, with 25,350 doses arriving next week, in addition to the 3,900 doses that have already arrived in the province. According to Shandro, these nearly 30,000 doses will be reserved for healthcare workers in Calgary and Edmonton, such as doctors working in intensive care units, nurses, respiratory therapists and longterm care workers.
After what has been a bleak year, the news presents a glimmer of hope. While the rollout of the vaccine to the general public will certainly take many more months – Shandro said the second phase of priority populations will start to receive the vaccine in April 2021 – it seems there might finally be a light at the end of this very dark tunnel.
We feel the Alberta government’s response to the second wave of the pandemic has been inadequate, which is reflected in the high rate of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths this province has unfortunately experienced in recent weeks. That being said, we must give the government kudos for expediting its initial timeline for procuring and administering the COVID-19 vaccines, and for prioritizing healthcare workers as the first recipients.
Despite this positive news, people must remember Alberta is not out of the woods yet. It might be close to a year from now before everyone in the province has received the shots needed to immunize them from COVID-19. Albertans must not think the arrival of a vaccine allows them to throw caution to the wind. The best thing to do is continue treating the virus seriously. If not, Alberta will continue to see soaring case rates in the weeks and months to come.