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The debate on whether to get COVID-19 vaccination continues to lurk as the province sees a spike in numbers of cases. Alberta had surpassed the 20,000 active cases, an indication of a third wave. The province is still leading the country in cases per-capita.
To encourage Albertans to get vaccinated, the Parliament passed a bill legislating a paid leave for 3 hours to those getting the shots. The idea was suggested by opposition NDP leader Rachel Notley and agreed upon Premier Jason Kenney. Both full-time and part-time workers are entitled to the leave. According to Labor Minister Jason Copping, “This is the right thing to do, and we will continue to take bold actions to protect Albertans’ lives and livelihoods while ensuring our economic recovery.”
The roll out of vaccinations and expansion of age eligibility for those Albertan ages 40 to 55 to receive AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccination gained steam. Walk-clinics and Vaccination Centers saw an increase of number of people lining up to get vaccinated. As of press, Alberta will also start vaccinating 15,000 workers from meat packing factories.
Alberta’s top doctor, Dr. Denna Hinshaw, vowed to offer all adult Albertans at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine before the end of June. But she added that this will all depend on the uptake of AstraZeneca. She also stressed that the benefit of getting the vaccine outweighs the risks like the rare cases of blood clot for those who received AstraZeneca. Hinshaw added, “With all the coverage that’s out there, it can be easy to lose track of how rare these blood clots actually are. Like any medication or therapy that has benefits, there are also some risks.”
Mabuhay Calgary spoke to some members of the community that was able to be vaccinated. Darlene Casten and her husband Arnold were amongst those who received the AztraZeneca shot. According to Casten, they both decided to get vaccinated to reduce the spread of COVID. She added that after more than a year of restricting their lives, wearing masks and washing hands incessantly, getting the vaccine is a small thing to do to keep people safe.
“We also got vaccinated because we want to be able to see our family again. That has been the hardest part.” Casten added. When asked if she would suggest Albertans get vaccinated she replied, “I don’t think it’s up to me to say if people should get vaccinated. I just hope people can identify misinformation and find credible sources information to base their decision on.”
A health worker Tess Santos who also received the AstraZeneca encouraged others to get the vaccine. “I think it is best to do it because there is a slim chance of contracting the virus when you are vaccinated.”
Both Casten and Santos said they did not feel any side effects after the vaccination.