October 21, 2021
Information obtained by the Western Standard from Alberta Health Services (AHS) shows vastly different rates of employee vaccine uptake than reported by AHS publicly.
The records shows a count of 104,991 employees with 69,302 reporting being double vaccinated, for a 66% vaccine uptake rate.
However, that data was updated as of October 18 for the Alberta government’s latest provincial COVID-19 address with more than 26,000 employees removed from the count entirely.
The removal of the 26,000 employees radically shifted the reported vaccination update rate from 66% to 91.4%.
The updated information showed vaccine uptake among employees had risen by 2,647 in one week to a total of 71,949, however, the total number of employees in this dataset dropped from over 104,000 to just 78,947, producing a new uptake rate of 91.4%.
That new rate was then quoted by AHS President and CEO Dr. Verna Yiu in Tuesday’s provincial update. They did not note casual employees were dropped from reporting.
Yiu said under 1% of employees were looking for a vaccine exemption and stated based on the numbers, “there is very broad support of the vaccine policy.”
When reached for comment by the Western Standard, AHS said the discrepancy was due to the removal of casual employees from the total number of AHS employees recorded.
AHS continued “there is about 29,000 casual staff within the system, although the number of active casual staff changes daily. About 74% of casual staff have provided proof of immunization.”
Based on the information provided from AHS, that leaves 7,540 casual staff who have yet to report their vaccination status.
AHS did not say why approximately 90% of its casual employees were dropped from the report, but has advised that only those casual employees who have been double-vaccinated will be called on for shifts after the mandated deadline of October 31.
An AHS official told the Western Standard “the majority of those casual staff members who haven’t provided proof of immunization likely simply haven’t submitted their proof of immunization — it does not mean they are not immunized.”
Yiu also said in her Tuesday’s provincial update that 7% of full-time and part-time staff have yet to provide their proof of vaccination.
“As we’ve already highlighted, 92% of part-time and full-time AHS employees (and 92% of physicians) providing proof of immunization represents broad support of the vaccine policy,” the AHS official said.