This initial shipment of 16,900 Moderna vaccine doses to Alberta will be used to immunize residents at long-term care and designated supportive living facilities, beginning with those at highest risk starting Dec. 30.
During today’s press conference announcing the arrival of the Moderna vaccine, Minister of Health Tyler Shandro said 28,000 people live in continuing care facilities in Alberta.
“These are the people who are at highest risk from advanced age and medical conditions as well as the nature of the care that they need and receive in these facilities. The reality is it involves close contact with teams of caregivers and that poses risk. The data shows overwhelmingly that the risk of severe illness from COVID increases with age, but the nature of continuing care means that people in these facilities are at much higher risk than seniors who are living independently or in other setting such as lodges or seniors apartments.”
Unlike, the Pfizer vaccine, the Moderna vaccine can be more easily transported to continuing care sites. The vaccine will be delivered to sites in Calgary, St. Paul, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Grande Prairie, Red Deer and Edmonton and will be offered to residents in continuing care facilities in those communities.
As more shipments of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines arrive in early January, immunization will continue to focus on residents of long-term care and designated supportive living facilities.
“Later this winter, by February, we anticipate rolling the vaccine out to seniors who are 75 years of age and over - no matter where they live, First Nations on reserves and Métis persons on settlements who are 65 or older, and that is because that population is experiencing, unfortunately, significantly worse health outcomes from this virus,” Premier Jason Kenney said today.
The Premier cautioned that the arrival of the vaccine does not mean the pandemic is over.
“While we have seen progress as the number of active cases has come down by nearly a third over the past three weeks, there is still so much more to do.”
Phase 2 is expected to start by April 2021. Final decisions regarding the sequencing of populations to receive the vaccine in Phase 2 have not yet been determined. Phase 3 will involve rolling out vaccinations to the general Alberta population, and is anticipated to start later in 2021.
“Everyone who wants to receive the COVID-19 vaccine will be able to do so when their turn arrives,” Kenney said.