The man who led Calgary’s emergency response during the first part of the COVID-19 pandemic has advice for Prime Minister Jason Kenney as the fourth wave hits 269 ICU patients hard on Tuesday, according to the Services Alberta Health Department.
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Tom Sampson retired from his post as head of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency in 2020. He said that if he were prime minister right now, he would start by apologizing to Albertans and then announcing a plan to fix it.
“Very publicly, he started by saying, ‘I’m sorry. It hasn’t turned out the way we thought it would, ‘I’d stand up, say it and then tell them what I was going to do to correct it, ”he told The Drive at 770 CHQR on Tuesday.
The incentive has a ‘low success rate’
The province is offering a $ 100 gift card to Albertans 18 and older if they receive a first or second dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine between September 3 and October 14.
Sampson said it would begin by canceling the vaccine incentive program, implementing a system that requires proof of complete immunization to access non-essential services, and providing regular updates to Albertans.
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“One of the first corrective actions is that it would take away the $ 100 that we are paying people for vaccines. It has had a very, very low success rate. It’s a marginal increase in the number of people getting vaccinated, ”he said.
“So you made the promise? It’s fine. Set a date and finish it, and set a date fairly early. I would have done it in five or six days, and after that date, it’s over. “
According to Alberta Health, since the incentive was announced, 33,319 first doses have been administered along with 35,570 second doses.
Collaboration is key, explained Sampson.
“Call BC, call Quebec, whoever, Ontario, that has some kind of registry or vaccination system in place. I hate when people call it a vaccine passport because it gives the feeling that it is something different, ”he said.
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“This is simply a record no different than the one I have in my home safe. It is a yellow book that tells me when I had typhoid. [vaccine] go visit countries and tell your staff to implement it immediately. Then make it a requirement to have a vaccination record for everything except the really essential things. “
‘Hand on the pulse of the problem’
It’s time to listen to people in leadership positions and take aggressive steps to turn the curve, Sampson said.
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“People want to know that you are aware of the problem and, furthermore, that together some tough action is required. I’ve always found that if you don’t tell the public the story, they will make up their own narrative, ”he said.
“We’ve seen that in some areas right now in COVID in a major way: misinformation, misinformation. We have a very real problem. “
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Sampson said the province should lead by example rather than relying on municipalities to implement its own public health measures.
“It is not correct to push municipalities into situations in which they have to act. This is a public health crisis and the responsibility for public health rests with the province of Alberta, so they shouldn’t pressure municipalities and ask them to do these things, ”he said.
“Frankly, they should be guiding us and thanking the communities and municipalities for the support they provide.”
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‘Beyond the edge’
He said the province may already be “beyond the limit” and that we cannot afford to wait any longer to take action.
“There is nothing else I want than to put an end to COVID and get back on our feet, for our businesses to run normally, for our economy to be no longer in trouble, for people to go back to work where they haven’t been, for us to open our restaurants and bars. “. he said.
“I know I sound very political when I say these things, but this is what we have to do now and, sadly, we are going in the wrong direction.”
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Sampson said he spoke to an ICU doctor in his 30s this weekend and the doctor said, “Tom, we can’t go on like this.”
“I’m afraid when this is all over, we’ll look back and say, ‘Look at the cost it cost to cancel elective surgeries … Look at the cost it took just because we weren’t prepared to crack down and make sure more people were vaccinated.’ “, said.
Global News reached out to Alberta Health for comment, but received no response.
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