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Alberta

Three quarters of Albertans are double vaccinated. Province launches third booster shot.

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Vaccine eligibility expands, milestone hit

More than 75 per cent of eligible Albertans are now fully immunized against COVID-19 while thousands more Albertans are now eligible for a third COVID-19 vaccine dose.

Starting Oct. 6, Albertans age 75 and older and First Nations, Inuit and Métis people age 65 and older can begin booking for a third dose at least six months after their second dose.

Acting on the recommendations of the Alberta Advisory Committee on Immunization, Alberta is one of the first provinces in Canada to offer third doses of vaccine to these age groups. Older Albertans, along with those who are immunocompromised or in seniors supportive living, are receiving third doses because of their increased risk of hospitalization, death or other severe outcomes from COVID-19.

Health officials will continue to monitor all emerging evidence on vaccine effectiveness across Canada and around the world.

“We are pleased to offer additional protection for those Albertans who are most at risk of serious illness from COVID-19. Getting fully vaccinated is not only important to help protect yourself and others, but is also vital to protecting our health-care system.”

Jason Kenney, Premier

“We know that COVID-19 can be especially dangerous for our older populations and continue to do everything we can to keep them safe. Over three-quarters of eligible Albertans are now fully immunized. I encourage everyone to think of their family, friends and neighbours and get fully vaccinated as soon as possible.”

Jason Copping, Minister of Health

“The data shows that seniors may experience waning immunity approximately six months after their second dose. A third dose will be beneficial for our elderly population to ensure they have the best protection from COVID-19 as we move through this fourth wave. At this time, the evidence does not support a need for additional doses for the general population, but we continue to monitor the data and will adapt as new evidence emerges.”

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health

Double dose milestone hit

Currently, 75.1 per cent of eligible Albertans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 after receiving two vaccine doses.

In addition, 84.5 per cent of eligible Albertans have received at least one dose. More than 500,000 first, second and third doses have been administered since Sept. 3.

All eligible Albertans are strongly encouraged to get fully vaccinated soon as possible to protect themselves, their families and their communities.

Albertans eligible for third doses

In addition to Albertans aged 75 and older, and First Nations, Métis and Inuit people aged 65 and older, third doses are available for seniors living in congregate care. These individuals are at the highest risk of severe outcomes and potential spread within congregate living sites, and will receive their doses on-site.

A number of immunocompromising conditions also qualify for an additional dose at least eight weeks after a second dose. For a full list, visit alberta.ca/vaccine.

Additional mRNA doses are also available to Albertans who are travelling to a jurisdiction that does not accept visitors who have been vaccinated with Covishield/AstraZeneca or mixed doses.

Anyone in the general population who receives a complete two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series can be confident that they have strong protection against severe illness and hospitalization due to COVID-19.

Booking a third-dose appointment

Eligible Albertans aged 75 and older and First Nations, Metis and Inuit persons living off-reserve can book appointments for third doses at participating pharmacies and physician clinics by using the booking system at alberta.ca/vaccine. Albertans can also call 811, participating pharmacies or participating physicians’ offices, or find a community pharmacy providing walk-in vaccinations.

Individuals aged 65 and older who live on a First Nations reserve will be able to access third doses through local public health clinics on-reserve.

If you are deemed ineligible due to your age, or six months has not passed since receiving your second dose, you will be asked to re-book when eligible.

Outdoor gathering restrictions

To reduce the spread of COVID-19, an updated public health measure will apply to all outdoor private social gatherings effective Oct. 6:

  • Outdoor private social gatherings are limited to a maximum of 20 people, with two-metre physical distancing between households at all times. This is a decrease from the previous limit of 200 attendees.
  • All other previously public health measures remain in place at this time.
  • Additional information on all the public health measures is available at alberta.ca/covid19.

Alberta

Fully vaccinated with negative tests in hand, Calgary mom and daughters forced into quarantine on return to Canada

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This article consists of the facebook posts of Calgary mother Tiffany Gaura.  Tiffany and her two daughters happened to be travelling home from a visit with her husband who is working in Cairo, when the Canadian government announced strict travel restrictions against those traveling from ‘some’ countries where the new Omicron virus has been found.  Gaura has given us permission to use her posts in this article and has filled in a few small gaps for us.  She’s hoping Canadian officials will show more flexibility, especially considering they’ve established restrictions on travellers coming from only a select few of the countries where Omicron has turned up.  Gaura is especially frustrated since Omicron is already in Canada and travellers from Europe and the United States are not quarantined on arrival. 

Day 1 –  Dec 4, 6:37 PM – Shock and Awe

This is a tough post for me. Today we traveled back to Canada from Cairo. We came early to complete the new quarantine requirement given Egypt has been listed as a “Country of Concern”. I am FULLY VACCINATED. We had PCR tests in Cairo and Frankfurt. We have an empty home to go to here in Calgary.
Upon arrival in YYC, we were taken by CBSA (Canadian Border Services) to PHAC (Public Health Canada) screening. It was a 15 minute interrogation about my history with Covid (none), my plans in Canada and my testing and vaccination. They read me my rights and told me I was entitled to a lawyer. They told me the fine for breaking quarantine is up to $750,000. We had a dedicated escort throughout, ensuring we weren’t escaping. Secondary unexplained screening at customs, and a PCR on arrival. We weren’t allowed to make any stops or get anything to eat or drink. The whole process took about 2 hours.
We were transported in a dedicated vehicle to the Westin Airport Hotel in Calgary. The Government of Canada as contracted the entire hotel as a “secure quarantine location”. The parking lot is blocked with No Trespassing signs. We were met by the Red Cross of Canada employees in HazMat suits.
We were processed and taken to an isolation floor. We cannot go outside. We cannot leave our room. We cannot get deliveries or packages. We cannot consume anything from offsite. We only get the meals they send us (it’s now 6:30pm and we have not had anything to eat or drink since we landed at 3pm). They have no cups for water in the room. I requested some but to no avail. Once we get our test results (presumably negative, and can take up to 72 hours) we must contact the Red Cross who will coordinate with Quarantine Officers for our release, that can take 48 hours (they say). They will provide us dedicated transport to our quarantine location (our home) where we must complete our 14 days in isolation. We must also take another test on Day 8.
This is happening, right now, in Canada, two years into a pandemic to vaccinated individuals. I don’t have the words to express this well. I waver back and forth between rage, embarrassment and disbelief. This will change my life, I have no doubt.

Day 2 – Dec 5, 11:17 AM = Frustration sets in

Next time you think about making a donation to the Canadian Red Cross, keep in mind that your donation dollars are going to things like supervising fully vaccinated travellers in mandatory government quarantine facilities. I’m sure there are other organizations that could use your money.

Day 3.- Dec 6. 11:22 AM = Canadian Quarantine for Fully Vaccinated Travelers With Negative Covid Tests

– We still have no PCR results, because apparently in Canada it takes 72 hours to get results in 2021. Or maybe they just want us to stay here longer. 🤔
– The food is horrible. It arrives cold and has limited nutritional value. It’s not FoodSafe for sure. I may call public health.
– No fruits or vegetables (aside from potatoes). No beverages are offered, so it’s tap water for the win. No wait, I did get some coffee filters and packaged creamer. It’s gross.
– The hotel gives a number for people to call so they can speak to us BUT they won’t actually put any calls through to our room. When you call they just say they will pass the message on to the Red Cross who will send us the message
– The kids are going stir crazy. No fresh air, no physical activity. We are doing yoga and school work, I brought a few card games, but that can only fill so many hours of the day with no space or freedom to roam.
– We have only one bed in the hotel room so we all sleep together.
– I asked for tampons, it took 24 hours to receive them.
– We have a window to nothing. Can’t see the parking lot or any coming and goings from the site. I wonder if they give rooms that have a view to that.
This interview was conducted by the CBC while Tiffany and her children were still in quarantine. 

Day 4 – Dec 7 – Third Negative Test Results Finally Come After More Than 3 Days.

4 days in quarantine.   We left when we got our results. I made a choice to leave after I was unable to contact anyone at either PHAC or the Red Cross who could give us any information about being released by a quarantine office.

This interview was conducted by the CTV in the hours after Tiffany and her children returned home after 4 days in quarantine.

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Alberta

Politicians raise concerns about carbon pricing benefits given to oilsands companies

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EDMONTON — Federal and provincial politicians are raising questions about Alberta government support provided to profitable oilsands companies that say carbon pricing hurts their competitiveness.

A recently released Alberta government document lists oilsands producers that have benefitted from a 2018 program designed to soften the blow of carbon pricing for companies whose competitors don’t pay those costs.

The program allows successful applicants to meet reduction targets through a greater emphasis on offsets, apply for emissions reduction grants or simply emit more carbon.

The document shows the only company that has benefitted from the program every year between 2018 and 2020 is Canadian Natural Resources Limited, which declared more than $2 billion in profits in the third quarter of 2021.

Alberta New Democrat environment critic Marlin Schmidt says the province must be more transparent, pointing out the document doesn’t say what benefits CNRL received, how big they were or how they were justified.

Federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault says his office is looking into how the program was used.

He says if problems are found, it could have an effect on the agreement between Alberta and Ottawa on carbon pricing.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 8, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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