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Paramedics, med techs now eligible for vaccination as Alberta expands Phase 1 of rollout

Last Updated Jan 12, 2021 at 6:15 am MST

EDMONTON – Alberta’s COVID-19 vaccine program is expanding to include more people under phase one of the inoculation rollout.

Premier Jason Kenney announced Monday afternoon other frontline caregivers, like paramedics and emergency medical technicians, will be eligible to get their vaccine sooner rather than later.

Other healthcare workers, like those working in emergency departments, those in COVID-19, medical, or surgical units, operating rooms, staff at long-term care homes, and respiratory therapists, are also eligible to get their shot.

WATCH: Hinshaw, Kenney, Shandro provide the latest provincial health update

Dusty Myshrall with the Alberta Paramedic Association offered his thanks for hearing the group’s concerns and acting on them.

Myshrall said all EMS staff will get an email and a link from AHS and urged every EMS worker to sign up and get their shot as soon as possible.

Kenney estimates the province will have administered 50,000 doses of the vaccine by the end of the day Monday, adding long-term care residents should have received their first dose of the vaccine by Jan. 18.

More information on when seniors not in care homes will be able to get their shots will be announced soon, said the premier.

By the end of January, the government expects to be vaccinating 50,000 people each week with a goal of having 200,000 people vaccinated by the end of March.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, says they have seen seven adverse reactions following the vaccine being administered, but those reactions might not necessarily be caused by the vaccine.

Most of the seven reactions were minor–swollen lymph nodes, diarrhea, or a rash–while there were three allergic reactions. None were anaphylactic.

Kenney also said that the province is hungry for more vaccines–the government needs another big shipment from the feds in order to keep up with demand.

If another shipment doesn’t get here soon, Kenney says the province will be short doses next week.

The vaccine news comes as the province announced 23 more COVID-19 deaths and 639 new infections Monday.