As Alberta continues to deal with rising cases of COVID-19 due to unvaccinated individuals and the spread of the Delta variant, students at the University of Calgary had an opportunity Wednesday afternoon to take advantage of a quick and easy way to receive their vaccine.
Organized by health-care group 19 to Zero, a vaccine pop-up clinic inside a bus was parked outside the university’s residence buildings where first-year and returning students could visit to get their shot.
The goal of the clinic is to make vaccines more readily available and to also address vaccine hesitancy among individuals aged 18 to 29. Currently, this demographic has the lowest fully vaccinated rate in Alberta while also leading the way in new active cases.
Some students believe misinformation circulating on social media is one reason younger people have been hesitant to get their vaccine.
“I think there’s a lot of conspiracy theories about COVID,” says Ifdayo Olanipekun. “Whenever something starts, people talk. People say different things.”
First-year student Michael Wang says concerns over having an adverse reaction to the vaccine have so far made him reluctant to get his shot, but he admits the spread of the Delta variant may soon change his mind.
Nineteen to Zero’s Margaret Pateman thinks as vaccine passports begin to gain momentum, so too will vaccine rates among young people.
“It will really dictate if they want to travel or go to restaurants in the future,” says Pateman. “I think by bringing the bus here, especially for this age group that wants to travel, that wants to go to bars and restaurants, I think it will really help.”
The bus will be back on campus Sept. 2, before returning again on Sept. 8 and 9.
The vaccine bus is operated by the Industry for Vaccination (IFV) coalition, which is co-chaired by the Business Council of Alberta and Suncor Energy.
The bus has travelled around many parts of Alberta since first announced on July 22.
The province provides the vaccines and reimburses IVF on a per-dose basis, a spokesperson confirmed to Global News.
Requests for the vaccine bus can be made here.
–with files from Adam Toy, Global News