Intensive Care Unit doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists and long-term care workers throughout the province will given the first COVID-19 vaccinations in the province and will begin on Wednesday, Dec. 16.
On Dec. 9, Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced the first vaccinations will be distributed in Edmonton and Calgary, with the first doses going to staff at the Foothills Medical Centre and Peter Lougheed Centre in Calgary and the University of Alberta hospital and Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton.
“These staff are exhausted and have put themselves at risk for 10 months. They need support and they need to know we are there for them,” Shandro said.
Health Canada approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine Dec. 9.
Alberta will receive around 3,900 doses of the first shipment of the Pfizer vaccine, which needs to be stored at -80 C to remain effective. Because of the strict storage regulations, the vaccine must be distributed at delivery sites, which are currently only situated in Edmonton and Calgary. Long-term care residents cannot be given the first round due to these regulations.
Recipients will need to receive two doses of the vaccine, given one month apart, and AHS will be booking appointments for the second dose once they distribute the first dose. Another shipment of the vaccine is expected in Alberta by the end of the month.
Shandro said the vaccinations are a "light at the end of the tunnel" of COVID-19 but Albertans still need to continue washing their hands, wearing masks, social distancing and following all COVID-19 protocols. It will still be months before the general public will receive their vaccinations.