Distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine in St. Paul began on Christmas Eve according to Alberta Health Services. Sixty eligible respiratory therapists, physicians, and continuing care healthcare workers from St. Paul and some surrounding areas made appointments at the designated immunization site to get vaccinated.
According to Lisa LaFerriere, a communications officer for AHS, “Staff and physicians identified for immunization during this preliminary phase have been selected based on their level of interaction with individuals that are COVID-19 positive, their risk of transmission from COVID-19 positive cases, as well as their role on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response.”
Dr. Travis Webster is a family physician with a practice in Bonnyville. He traveled to St. Paul this morning to get his shot and said he’s “happy the vaccine is here, and can’t wait for it to be available to everybody.”
According to Webster, he’s seen a lot of stress and anxiety in his patients.
“They are worried about COVID, but also about the impact it has on their jobs and families,” said Webster. He noted the loss of social interaction has been especially difficult on everyone.
“But I am impressed with the community’s actions to follow public health guidelines and look after each other,” said Webster.
St. Paul received 975 doses of the Pfizer vaccine which began being rolled out in Alberta on Dec. 14. It is one of 10 smaller communities in the province receiving the vaccine at present, in addition to Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer.
According to Premier Jason Kenney, this is just the beginning of immunization in the province.
“We’re off to a strong start. We have been ready to receive and administer vaccine since day one – and we will be ready to safely and quickly distribute all future doses into the arms of Albertans,” said Kenney.
Health Minister Tyler Shandro said that while 2021 will be a year of hope and relief, “Until we receive enough doses, remember to follow the health measures in place to protect you, your community and our health-care system.”