Alberta is about to hit the two-million dose milestone in its efforts to vaccinate the province’s population against COVID-19, Premier Jason Kenney said Tuesday.
“By tomorrow, we fully expect to administer our two-millionth dose in Alberta,” Kenney told a news conference.
“To put it in perspective, it took Alberta 119 days to reach our first one million doses administered.
“And if we stay on target for tomorrow, it will have taken only 29 days to reach the second million.”
Kenney joined Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, in an update on efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 and the ongoing vaccination campaign.
The premier said he’s heard many parents say that it was more emotional for them to book appointments for their kids this week than it was when they booked their own shots.
“All of these moments give us a brief glimpse towards the exit and the end of this pandemic and a return to normal life,” he said.
Alberta reported 1,449 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and three new deaths: a woman in her 70s in the South zone who died Saturday; a man in his 90s in the North zone who died Sunday; and a man in his 90s in the Central zone who died Monday.
There are 705 people with COVID-19 in hospital, including 163 in intensive care.
As of Tuesday, there were 24,998 active cases in Alberta.
In the last 24 hours, 11,852 tests were completed. The testing positivity rate was 12.7 per cent.
Kenney said work is underway to develop a new one-stop, centralized booking system that will let people book vaccination appointments at AHS clinics, pharmacies or participating physicians’ offices. The system will launch sometime in June, he said.
Push down spike, then plan the reopening
Kenney said he is watching with interest a plan announced in Saskatchewan linking its reopening to vaccination rates. Alberta is still in the early stages of developing its own plan but that vaccination rates are a consideration, he said.
“Our immediate focus is just getting through the next couple of weeks, really through the end of May, to push down this spike and then I think we can really begin to look forward to reopening many, many things to have a good summer,” he said.
He said government polling suggests about 10 per cent of Albertans say they definitely won’t get the vaccine and another 10 per cent say they might get it. The balance of the province’s population say they are somewhat or very likely to get immunized against COVID-19, Kenney said.
New advertising campaign
Alberta has launched Back to Normal, a new phase of the province’s vaccination campaign aimed at emphasizing the importance of getting people vaccinated.
“Your vaccine is your ticket back,” an upbeat Kenney said Tuesday.
A billboard-type ad that is part of the campaign shows kids and families at a community soccer game with the slogan, “Get vaccinated so we can all get back to normal.”
More ads are to follow, the government said in a news release.
Here is how active cases break down throughout the province:
- Calgary zone: 11,532
- Edmonton zone: 5,707
- North zone: 3,689
- Central zone: 2,713
- South zone: 1,328
- Unknown: 29