Province admits uncertainty in providing timely second COVID-19 vaccinations

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Earlier in the day, Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro was asked why Alberta hasn’t fully detailed its plan for further vaccinations like other provinces have.

Shandro said that’s dependent on Ottawa.

“The federal government has not provided us with certainty about how many vaccines we’re going to be getting and when we’re going to be getting them,” he said.

“For us to be able to look at a Phase 2 plan . . . how we decide who’s going to be the most vulnerable, we have to understand what the delivery schedule is going to be for those vaccines so we can make those decisions.”

He then called on the federal Liberal government to step up its advocacy for Canada’s place in receiving vaccines.

“We see other countries not being affected by what’s happening with the upgrades to the Belgian (Pfizer) facility,” said Shandro.

Federal assurances that Canada wouldn’t be disproportionately affected by the Pfizer plant slowdown, he added, “appears to not be true.”

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tried to reassure Canadians they’ll still be fully vaccinated in a timely fashion, a task his government has previously promised would be completed by September.

“Canada is very much on track in receiving doses of vaccines for Canadians,” he said.

Shandro also said the province has no plans to require those travelling to Alberta from other parts of Canada to quarantine for 14 days, a requirement that goes into effect Friday in Manitoba due to concerns of more highly infectious COVID-19 variants.

To head off those variants, the province should suspend a COVID-19 test pilot project at the Calgary International Airport that reduces the self-isolation period, and impose a two-week quarantine period for all who fly into Alberta, NDP Leader Rachel Notley said Wednesday.

“Alberta still has the loosest restrictions on incoming flights into the country,” she said, adding an expansion of the pilot project to Edmonton’s airport next week should be halted.

“The fact is, the virus and vaccines right now are in a race.”

BKaufmann@postmedia.com

Twitter: @BillKaufmannjrn

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