Alberta Health Minister Defends Decision Against COVID-19 Vaccine Passport Amid Repeated Questioning | The Canadian News

Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro continues to defend the UCP’s decision not to implement the so-called vaccine passport and related restrictions, amid the growing fourth wave of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

Shandro has been asked repeatedly, specifically in the past two days, why the Alberta government has no current plans to introduce a trial vaccination program.

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During a press conference Friday at the Rocky Mountain House, Shandro was questioned again about whether Alberta will have a system similar to the one that comes to BC, where residents have proof of vaccination on an app or scannable card, and along with it, Restrictions will be in place across the province to prevent unvaccinated people from entering some settings, such as nonessential businesses.

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“The answer is that right now, the first job we need to do is make sure that Albertans have their vaccine records in the palm of their hand, so that we get out like other provinces are doing,” he said.

“And I was hoping to be next week for the main card, (the) same as BC, which we will also release next week.”

Click to play video: 'Doctors warn of potential collapse of Alberta's healthcare system'

Doctors warn of potential collapse of Alberta’s healthcare system

Doctors warn of potential collapse of Alberta’s healthcare system

When asked why Alberta was not introducing comparable restrictions alongside the vaccine card, Shandro said the government is prioritizing ensuring that businesses or workplaces that want to implement their own restrictions can do so quickly via code. Safe QR.

“When it comes to the question of whether it will be a government mandate, we have – as we have communicated before, the prime minister said before – we are now allowing those workplaces and companies to make those decisions,” he said. .

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“We will continue to examine the evidence on how that affects our uptake of vaccines. If there is evidence … as we see the vaccine passports, since they are enabled in other provinces, I am happy to see that information.

“But right now, we have made the decision that these decisions are driven by those workplaces and those companies.”

Click to Play Video: 'Health Minister Says Albertans Will Be able to Show COVID-19 Vaccine Status Without Passport Needed'

Health Minister Says Albertans Will Have Ability To Show COVID-19 Vaccine Status Without Passport Required

Health Minister Says Albertans Will Have Ability To Show COVID-19 Vaccine Status Without Passport Required

He was then asked about the evidence from other provinces, such as Ontario, BC and Manitoba, where the introduction of proof of vaccination programs led to an increase in vaccinations.

At that point, the minister’s press secretary tried to stop the reporter and move on to the next question in line.

When the journalist said, “Just one more question, I drove all the way to ask you,” the press secretary could be heard again saying to move on to “the next question, please.”

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“The evidence is out there. People are dying right now, Minister. They are dying. Time to act, that’s what Albertans say. So why are you delaying this? “CBC provincial affairs reporter Michelle Bellefontaine is heard saying before the press secretary tries again to move on to the next question.

However, Shandro insisted on answering the question, saying that he also heard these concerns from other Albertans.

“It’s good feedback for us, I appreciate that feedback,” he said.

“As I made a commitment that we will continue to examine that evidence, and we will continue to work with our public health officials on the issue, so thank you.”

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As of Friday, 686 Albertans were in hospital due to COVID-19, and 169 were being treated in ICU. That’s a jump of seven hospitalizations and 15 ICU admissions in 24 hours.

The province also reported 1,473 new COVID-19 infections, as well as 10 more deaths.

Of Albertans eligible to receive the vaccine, 70.9 percent were fully vaccinated as of Friday and 78.9 percent had received at least one dose.

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Shandro was also asked on Friday about the $ 100 incentive that was announced last week, with the goal of getting unvaccinated Albertans out to get the jab, however it has not resulted in a significant increase in jabs. vaccines.

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The Health Minister did not provide official figures on the vaccination rate in the province and instead vaguely mentioned Medicine Hat media reports, saying that anecdotally, the region saw a 13 percent increase in vaccines after the incentive was announced.

“I know that incentive program like that is frustrating for Albertans. I’m frustrated that we had to get to the point where we introduced an incentive program like that, ”he said.

“So I appreciate (that) everyone who did the right thing and received the jab in their arms is frustrated that now we have to incentivize those who haven’t.”

Click to play video: '' It frustrates me that we had to '- Alberta Health Minister Defends COVID-19 Vaccine Incentive' '

‘It frustrates me that we had to’: Alberta health minister defends COVID-19 vaccine incentive

‘It frustrates me that we had to’: Alberta health minister defends COVID-19 vaccine incentive

Shandro said that from what he has seen, there have been “some increases” in vaccines, and the Health Ministry “will remain interested in seeing how far those increases go.”

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When asked if the government would consider increasing the amount of money attached to the incentive, Shandro said no, adding that officials will look for areas with low vaccination rates and how to incentivize those residents to get vaccinated.

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