September 28, 2021
Alberta’s NDP is proposing new actions to increase vaccine uptake as the province continues to face a devastating fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic that is threatening Alberta’s hospital system.
In Calgary on Monday, Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley called on Jason Kenney and the UCP to boost vaccination rates by reaching unvaccinated Albertans and addressing their concerns directly, as well as combating serious misinformation by working more closely with community groups and trusted leaders.
“Higher vaccination rates will reduce pressure on our hospitals, and help lessen, maybe even prevent future waves of infection,” said Notley, in a press release. “I realize that there are some Albertans who are vehemently opposed to vaccination, and it may be difficult to change their minds, but it’s not impossible.”
- Door-to-door vaccine education and awareness campaign: The Government of Alberta should form teams of healthcare professionals and trusted community members going door-to-door to address vaccine hesitancy one-on-one and offer Albertans vaccines on the doorstep.
- Grants to local community groups interested in starting a vaccine campaign: By tripling the current budget for vaccine promotions to $45 million, the Government of Alberta could partner with trusted local organizations to combat misinformation and increase uptake.
- Research and gap analysis: The Government of Alberta should study vaccine hesitancy in order to identify and address underlying causes, including financial and language barriers.
Last fall, the Government of Alberta undertook a focused vaccine campaign in northeast Calgary. According to Alberta Health Services, 93.4 per cent of eligible people living in Calgary’s upper northeast have at least one dose of the vaccine and 83.1 per cent are fully vaccinated. In the lower northeast section, 82.7 per cent of eligible Albertans have one dose and 72.7 per cent are fully-vaccinated.
Calgary Citizen of the Year and former executive director of Action Dignity, Marichu Antonio, was part of the effort in northeast Calgary and also supported the vaccination campaign at the Cargill meat-packing plant.
“It is important that we bring vaccination close to the people and communities,” said Antonio. “Working with community leaders, volunteers and organizations has proven to be effective in providing accurate, relevant and culturally accessible information, for linking people to needed support, and especially for encouraging people to get vaccinated and be protected—as well as protect others—from the pandemic.”
Justice Critic and Calgary-McCall MLA Irfan Sabir said the success seen in Calgary can be attributed to efforts to bring the vaccines to people at the Genesis Centre as well as local gurdwaras and mosques.
“Bringing the lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines directly to people works, I am so proud to represent people who have rolled up their sleeves and done their part to keep their fellow Albertans safe, to protect our hospitals, protect jobs and protect Alberta’s economy,” said Sabir.