Opposition calls for COVID-19 vaccine clinics in Alberta schools this fall
Health minister says current strategy is to vaccinate many eligible people as fast as possible
The Alberta NDP wants COVID-19 immunization clinics in schools when classes resume this fall to ensure more students get their second dose of vaccine as soon as possible.
According to statistics published by Alberta Health, 63 per cent of Albertans between 12 and 19 have received their first dose of vaccine, but only 38.5 per cent have received their second shot.
NDP Opposition Leader Rachel Notley says those numbers need to improve, especially now that the more highly contagious delta variant is in the province. She says Alberta's full reopening on July 1 may give many the false impression that a single dose is all that is required to stay safe.
"We're six weeks away from everybody going back to school, and over half of the people going into those schools do not have their second dose," Notley said Monday. "And what we know is that the second dose is critically important."
Notley wants the government to run vaccine clinics inside all schools this fall for anyone who wants to get their shot.
The idea was given a tepid reception by Health Minster Tyler Shandro who was asked about the plan while at an unrelated news conference in Grande Prairie on Monday.
Shandro said the province may look at school-based clinics when vaccines are approved for children 12 and under.
He said Alberta's current strategy is to vaccinate as many eligible people as quickly as possible.
"We want to ensure that our resources are deployed in the best way possible," he said. "We right now want to focus on community partners to be able to provide those vaccines."