Alberta adds teachers to COVID-19 vaccine eligibility list
EDMONTON -- Alberta expanded its COVID-19 vaccine eligibility list on Monday to add teachers, school support staff and child-care workers.
Bus drivers, custodians and education assistants are part of the expansion group, which can begin to book appointments on Tuesday.
In a two-word statement reacting to the announcement, Alberta Teachers' Association president Jason Schilling said: "About time."
Proof of employment will not be required, Premier Jason Kenney said.
The premier also announced Banff and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo would receive an additional 20,000 vaccine doses and lowered the eligibility to anyone 18 years and older.
"This vaccine is our ticket to getting out of the pandemic and getting back to normal but right now it's not enough," Kenney said. "Cases and hospitalizations are rising faster than our vaccines are arriving. We need to bend the curve in the next few weeks."
"This choice is the best protection available," Dr. Deena Hinshaw said. "The more of us who choose vaccine, the closer we get to replacing the currently needed protection of public health measures with the protection of vaccines."
Alberta Health Services had administered 1.6 million vaccine doses as of the end of Sunday.
"I hope later this week we may be proceeding to the full Phase 3 of the Alberta vaccine program, which will be every adult Albertan," Kenney said.
According to Alberta Health Services, expanded vaccine rollout will not include post-secondary professors, teaching assistants, and support staff despite in-person learning continuing at many universities and colleges around the province and a full return to in-person learning being encouraged by the Minister of Advanced Education this fall.