COVID-19 News Video

VIDEO: COVID-19 vaccine arrives in Alberta, 29K to be immunized by end of 2020

Premier Jason Kenney was on-site at the Calgary International Airport for the arrival of Alberta’s first shipments of Pfizer vaccine.

CALGARY – The first 3,900 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine arrived at Calgary International Airport Monday evening and Premier Jason Kenney called it “a game-changing moment in the fight against the pandemic.”

Shipments of 25,350 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are scheduled to arrive in Alberta next week.

About 29,000 health-care workers will be vaccinated by the end of December, said Health Minister Tyler Shandro Monday. 

“Making this announcement is the greatest privilege I’ve had as health minister because it’s the first real ray of light in the dark night that our health-care professionals have lived through for ten months now,” said Shandro.

The vaccine will be delivered to several sites, including Calgary’s Peter Lougheed Centre and Foothills Medical Centre. The first doses will be given to respiratory therapists, doctors, nurses working in intensive care units (ICUs) and long-term care and acute care workers. 

“I am very pleased to hear that we will be able to immunize more of our front-line health-care workers and vulnerable Albertans before the end of the year,” said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health. “But this is not the end. We must continue to follow health measures to bend the curve, and until enough of us are immunized, we must continue to be each others’ vaccine.”

Pending final approval from Health Canada, the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is expected to arrive in Alberta later in December. The Moderna vaccines can be transported to other locations, so the initial shipment will be used to immunize residents at long-term care locations beginning with those at highest risk, including two First Nations seniors facilities.

As more shipments arrive in early January, immunization will focus on Phase 1 priority populations and will include residents of long-term care and designated supportive living facilities, followed by seniors aged 75 and over and First Nations on reserve, Inuit and on-settlement Metis individuals aged 65 and over.

Phase 2 is still expected to start by April 2021 and will be targeted to the next groups of prioritized populations. Final decisions regarding eligibility 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.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses.

Kari Bergstrom, Manager, Immunization, Business with Alberta Health, centre, provides logistical highlights of the Provincial Vaccine Depot to Alberta’s Minister of Health Tyler Shandro, right, and Deputy Minister of Health Paul Wynnyk, left, on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020.