Rumour that Alberta will require mandatory vaccines 'a total myth': Kenney
This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML
EDMONTON -- Premier Jason Kenney shot down rumours circulating online that the government has implemented a law requiring mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations once a treatment is approved.
In a Facebook Live roundtable discussion Wednesday night, Kenney fielded a question about the status of vaccines being developed for the disease.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, said there are currently 10 trials of vaccines underway, including one in Canada.
"We're going to be watching those very closely to see how they perform," she said. "I'm not sure there's any one vaccine right now that's a clear frontrunner."
While she said the number of vaccines in development were "encouraging," Hinshaw also said there's not likely to be widespread use of an approved vaccines until at least 2021.
Kenney then commented on "concerned remarks" from the public regarding vaccinations.
"There's been some misinformation that the government recently adopted a law requiring mandatory vaccinations that is completely untrue, that is just a total myth," Kenney said.
He added that if there is a safe approved vaccine, the government would strongly encourage Albertans to use it similar to influenza season, but would not force them to.
"We understand there's some people, for whatever reasons they may have, individual reasons, may choose not to participate. But we would certainly, we'll wait and see what happens scientifically on this."
Researchers in Canada predict if things go well with clinical trials, a vaccine could be ready for public use in 12 to 18 months.
One vaccine in clinical trials is being developed through a joint partnership between Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia and a Chinese company.
“It seems to be the furthest along and it hasn't had any safety issues so far, so I’m kind of keeping my eye on that,” UBC pharmaceutical sciences professor Dr. Fawziah Lalji told CTV News Vancouver on Wednesday.
The vaccine is already in phase two, meaning its developers have already conducted human trials on a small number of patients and are now looking at different doses and age groups.
Phase three is a wide-scale trial typically involving thousands of patients.
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Maria Weisgarber.