Prime Minister Jason Kenney says the Alberta version of a vaccine passport is helping to increase vaccinations and reduce COVID-19 cases, but notes that it will be in force at least until the first months of next year.
“I fully expect we will have it at least until the first quarter of next year, 2022, because we are heading into an uncertain period,” Kenney said Tuesday.
“We will have to be on guard when we go in colder weather, when people spend more time indoors.
“We will switch to seasonal winds in terms of viral spread.”
Kenney and Health Secretary Jason Copping said the Alberta vaccine passport, which was introduced three weeks ago as an exemption program, is giving the desired effect.
Alberta launches application to read QR code of COVID-19 vaccination
Alberta Health shows that 85 percent of eligible Albanians, those 12 years of age and older, now have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. This is from 78 percent a month ago.
More than 75 percent have had two doses required.
Alberta launches application to scan QR code of COVID-19 vaccine test
Other provinces have adopted the vaccine passport, forcing anyone using non-essential services, such as bars and restaurants, to prove vaccination.
Alberta’s program is voluntary, but those businesses that do not participate are subject to restrictions – including severely reduced client capacity.
Copping also announced that a downloadable application is now available that will make it easier to display and verify a QR code as proof of vaccination.
From November 15, Albertans will need those QR codes to prove they are fully vaccinated.
Reality check: Comparison of getting the Albertas COVID-19 vaccine after the stimulus and the $ 100 passport
Passport was one of the many policies put in place to stop the dizzying increase in COVID-19 cases that has put the hospital system under severe strain.
Dr Verna Yiu, head of Health Services in Alberta, said the numbers appeared to be declining, but warned that the health system was still under severe stress.
“Still it is too early to suggest that this is a trend, but it is a good sign and it is a weak silver lining in what has been a very difficult period for our healthcare system,” Yiu said.
COVID-19: Alberta health president more optimistic as pressure on hospitals eased slightly
There were an average of 840 cases per day during the long Thanksgiving weekend in Alberta, which had seen more than a thousand cases per day or more for weeks. There were 33 other deaths, including a 14-year-old.
Alberta had to double the normal number of 173 intensive care beds and seek medical reinforcements from the Canadian and Newfoundland and Labrador Armed Forces.
There were 300 people receiving critical care on Tuesday, most of them with COVID-19. This represents a one percent drop from a week ago.
When extra beds are added, Alberta intensive care units are on average 78 percent full.
Thousands of non-emergency surgeries have been canceled for weeks across the province to free staff to handle the rise of COVID-19, but Yiu said they are slowly returning to completing some of those surgeries.
Alberta steps up COVID-19, vaccine passport measures to try to prevent healthcare systems from collapsing
Also Tuesday, Alberta Health said it is on track to spend more than $ 15 million directly to pay vaccine residents reluctant to get the COVID-19 shot.
The province said more than 152,000 Albertans have registered to receive a pre-loaded debit card in exchange for receiving the vaccine.
The promotion, which began in early September to vaccinate more people, ends on Thursday.
Alberta has seen an encouraging increase in COVID-19 vaccine intake since the $ 100 stimulus began: Kenney
Meanwhile, opposition NDP leader Rachel Notley called for an all-party legislative committee to determine why the government failed to plan or cope with the fourth wave of COVID-19.
Kenney lifted almost all public health restrictions as of July 1, stating that any future COVID-19 case could be accommodated within the health system, adding that they see no need to plan for a worse case scenario.
As cases and hospitalizations increased over the summer, the Kenney government did not act with new measures or incentives until September.
“UCP continues to make the same deadly mistakes over and over again,” Notley said early Tuesday.
“Alberts deserve to know how this crisis came about and why our fourth wave has been so much worse than anywhere else in Canada.”
© 2021 Canadian Press
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