Last week (Apr. 21), Alberta had postponed the opening of an on-site vaccination clinic at the Cargill meat-packing plant due to a delay in shipments of the Moderna vaccine, but the delay only last one week.
Meat-packing plant workers were identified as an eligible group under Phase 2C, but delays in Alberta’s incoming vaccine supply delayed the start of this program until now.
On site vaccinations at Cargrill began on Apr. 27.
Premier Jason Kenney spoke on the issue.
“We continue to progress through Phase 2C of Alberta’s vaccine rollout as quickly as vaccine supply from the federal government allows. I’m glad that we can now offer vaccines to protect these valued workers who contribute so much to Alberta’s and the entire country’s food supply system. As vaccine shipments continue to arrive, our focus will be getting those Albertans most at risk of severe outcomes vaccinated as quickly as possible, he said.
Chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw stated how important it is to get these workers immunized.
“Protecting workplaces where large outbreaks can happen quickly is critical. Immunizing workers at meat-packing plants will go a long way to help keep these workers, their families and communities safe. Immunization is key for Alberta to move forward past this pandemic,” said Dr. Hinshaw.
Workers at federal meat-packing plants will be immunized using a combination of Primary Care Network clinics, public health clinics or linkages to local pharmacies or AHS immunization sites. This includes the largest plants currently operating in the province: Olymel in Red Deer and Cargill here in High River.
Once these clinics have been completed, any workers who have not been vaccinated will be provided with a letter from their employer that they can present at an AHS immunization clinic or pharmacy to receive the vaccine. They will also be able to use the AHS booking tool.
At provincial meat-packing plants, which are typically smaller, employers will receive a list of AHS clinics and pharmacies in their area, and a letter that their employees can use to establish their eligibility to be immunized.
As well, the Cargill plant at High River will also be the focus of a pilot clinic led by a team of researchers from the University of Calgary. This clinic will address vaccine hesitancy by providing translated materials and on-site translators at the plant.
More than 2.3 million Albertans are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.