During a news conference Tuesday on Alberta’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout, the premier mentioned the province is looking at potentially offering in-school vaccine clinics.
Jason Kenney made the comment after saying Alberta Health was working on a one-stop centralized vaccine booking system that allows people to easily book at AHS sites, pharmacies or doctors’ offices.
“This will help not only roll out the COVID vaccine, but flu shots and other vaccines too.”
Kenney said that booking system would likely launch in June.
“We are also working with the department of education on potentially rolling out school clinics for vaccination for those 12 and older.”
A spokesperson for Alberta Education said in an email: “School divisions in Alberta have a long history of partnering with Alberta Health Services to facilitate vaccinations for their students.
“This is being considered to support the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.”
The Alberta Teachers’ Association has not heard about any potential school vaccination plan nor has it be consulted, ATA president Jason Schilling told Global News Tuesday evening.
He urged the government to consult with the ATA and school boards should it decide to move ahead with this plan.
“If it’s done, we want to make sure it’s done right and in the safest way possible,” Schilling said.
However, offering vaccines in schools would be convenient, as “that’s where the kids are,” he said, adding school nurses offer other types of immunizations in some Grade 9-12 schools.
“We’re also dealing with COVID,” Schilling added. “It’s a little different than the shots you might get at other grade levels.”
As of Tuesday, Alberta has administered 1,947,004 doses of COVID-19 vaccine.
On Monday, anyone over 12 years old became eligible to book a vaccine appointment.
Kenney expects Alberta to pass the two-million mark on Wednesday, calling it a “big milestone for our province.”
“I’m asking everyone to book their dose as soon as possible,” he said. “Take the first appointment you can get and to keep checking with pharmacies or AHS through their website or by calling 811 because more appointments will open up as the supply is confirmed.
“If you manage to book an earlier or more convenient appointment, make sure to cancel the first one so someone else can use it.”
The premier said the success of Alberta’s vaccination rollout has reduced the province’s average daily deaths from COVID-19 from 18 during the second wave, to three amid the third. He said the province has also effectively “stamped out” hospitalizations among the elderly and those identified as high-risk, thanks to immunizations.
By the first week of June, the premier said officials expect half of the Alberta population will have received at least a first dose of vaccine, and two-thirds will have that added protection by the third week of June.