The Alberta government and a group of private sector businesses are launching a mobile clinic next week in an effort to get COVID-19 vaccines to remote and hard-to-reach populations.
The clinic will do a tour around the province of rural communities and work camps, or places where vaccination uptake is low, a Thursday government news release said.
It’s a joint initiative between Alberta Health and a coalition of businesses called the Industry for Vaccination, co-chaired by Suncor and the Business Council of Alberta.
James Puckrin, operating manager of ACESO Medical, said they anticipate being able to administer 300 doses a day per bus.
“This will allow us to target rural communities with lower uptake or where vaccines aren’t readily accessible, as well as provide vaccinations at farms, plants, and work sites,” he said in the release.
Health Minister Tyler Shandro said he is grateful to the private sector and industry leaders for being involved in the project.
“They understand the value of getting our population protected so we can get back to our lives, our work, and past the pandemic,” said Shandro.
As of Tuesday, the province had administered 5,100,111 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, with 74.9 per cent of the population 12 years and older having received one dose, and 60.7 per cent two doses.
On Wednesday, Alberta Health Services (AHS) announced the rapid flow COVID-19 immunization clinic at the Edmonton Expo Centre will be closing at the end of July.
“COVID-19 case numbers are significantly lower throughout the province. Demand for immunization continues; however, rapid flow clinics are no longer needed given the increasing percentage of the immunized population,” AHS said in a statement.
Staff at the Expo Centre will be transferred to other immunization sites, wherever possible. The centre’s clinic will close at 8 p.m. on July 29.
Albertans can continue to book their first or second doses through AHS’ online booking tool, Health Link at 811, as well as local pharmacies, and at physician’s offices.
Since opening on April 12, staff at the Expo Centre have administered more than 143,000 immunizations.
Alberta reported 81 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday as hospitalizations continue to decline. There were 95 people hospitalized with COVID-19, including 27 in intensive care as the province’s total active cases was 649.
The province is expected to provide updated COVID-19 numbers Thursday afternoon.
…More to come