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Teachers, educators and support staff in Alberta will be able to book appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine starting Tuesday, according to internal emails exchanged between high-level officials.
The expansion of vaccine deployment in Alberta will open up immunization appointments for more than 52,000 teachers, 29,000 support workers and 24,000 child care workers, according to emails sent involuntarily to Postmedia. Reservations will be open for eligible workers on May 4 through the Alberta Health Services online reservation tool, 811 and at participating pharmacies.
“All certified teachers who actively teach K-12 are eligible, including public, separate, French-speaking, charter, private / independent / ECS and First Nations schools, substitute teachers, administrators and other certified teachers working in separate roles, ”according to a draft press release.
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Bus drivers, teacher assistants, babysitters and others who support schools will also become eligible. Staff working in licensed child care programs such as day care programs, out-of-school child care, preschool programs, and family day homes are included.
According to the draft press release, reservations will operate under the honor system and no proof of employment will be required.
Alberta Teachers’ Association president Jason Schilling has called for teachers to be added to the list of frontline workers eligible for vaccination for several weeks.
“It’s the most important thing that would make teachers feel more secure,” Schilling told Postmedia on April 10.
At a press conference the same day, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said teachers would not yet be able to receive the vaccine unless they were otherwise eligible in another category – in depending on age or underlying health problems.
“We’re not going to do this on the basis of arbitrary pressure, but rather on scientific advice,” Kenney said on April 10.
He added that it would be “a real misallocation” of the vaccine supply to put a young teacher ahead of other immunization groups.
Kenney is expected to provide an update on the province’s vaccine distribution strategy Monday afternoon, as the number of active COVID-19 cases remains record high.
With nearly 23,000 active cases of the novel coronavirus across the province, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, will join Kenney to discuss the response to the pandemic.
– With files from Jason Herring