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Edmonton clinic takes unique approach to encourage COVID-19 vaccines as rates plateau

Click to play video: 'Edmonton clinic takes unique approach to encourage COVID-19 vaccine uptake' Edmonton clinic takes unique approach to encourage COVID-19 vaccine uptake
There's a push to encourage more people in Alberta to get their COVID-19 shot as first dose vaccination rates plateau. An Edmonton clinic took a unique approach to attract people this weekend. Chris Chacon explains – Jul 10, 2021

There’s a push to entice more people in the province to get their COVID-19 shot as first-dose vaccination rates plateau.

Canada’s chief public health officer raised concern this week about the reluctance of young Canadians to get their vaccine.

Read more: Not enough young Canadians are ‘offering their arm’ for COVID-19 vaccines: Tam

An Edmonton clinic took a creative approach to attract people this weekend.

After more than a year of living through this pandemic, 19-year-old Nelly Bamba finally got her first vaccine dose Saturday.

“It feels good. I though it was going to hurt and I thought I was going to get the effects immediately but I don’t,” Nelly Bamba said.

She got her shot at an Edmonton vaccine clinic Saturday put on by Action for Healthy Communities. As an incentive, organizers offered a barbecue and prizes.

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“We know that if you bring food to an event, you have a level of engagement that you don’t with other clinics,” Action for Healthy Communities Manager Lisa Jane de Gara said.

Click to play video: 'Vaccine motivation: Moving hesitant Albertans in the right direction' Vaccine motivation: Moving hesitant Albertans in the right direction
Vaccine motivation: Moving hesitant Albertans in the right direction – Jun 11, 2021

Recent statistics from the province show nearly 4.8 million doses have been administered.

As of July 8, 73.9 per cent of eligible Albertans have had at least one dose and 53.1 per cent are fully vaccinated.

Read more: ‘Like running a marathon’: How to reach Canadians still not vaccinated against COVID-19

“I think we’re at a lull in vaccination uptake,” Edmonton COVID-19 Rapid Response Collaborative Project Manager Gail Kesslar said.

“Now the ones the we’re going to have try to reach are those who are vaccine hesitant, who have some misinformation, who have just not got the means.”

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Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam raised concern Thursday over rates in younger Canadians and a lack of effort to get their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

“It’s a challenge and a gap that has been noted across the country,” Tam said.

Click to play video: 'Dr. Tam addresses slowdown in COVID-19 vaccine rates among young adults' Dr. Tam addresses slowdown in COVID-19 vaccine rates among young adults
Dr. Tam addresses slowdown in COVID-19 vaccine rates among young adults – Jul 8, 2021

Bamba fell into that demographic of people not wanting a vaccine.

“I was a little scared because of the side effects but I’m like, ‘Just do it already because [the pandemic] is not going to finish if you don’t do the vaccine.'”
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Read more: COVID-19: Kenney says 1st vaccine dose uptake in Alberta now advancing ‘in inches’

But Bamba said the comfort of the clinic made getting a shot easier. There was another motivating factor for her.

“We’re planning on travelling, and we don’t want to be a burden, and also spread COVID around to our family and friends.”

Tam said it’s important for Canadians aged 20 to 30 to get their vaccine as they are more likely to do social mixing and connect with other higher-risk populations.

Read more: Have a vaccine hesitant friend or family member? Experts offer tips on addressing concerns

The Action for Healthy Communities said it wants to host another BBQ vaccination clinic towards the end of the summer.

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