Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives at the 2021 budget in Edmonton, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. Kenney is expected to announce this morning an arrangement allowing Alberta truckers to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in neighbouring American states. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Alberta’s Kenney urges federal government to push U.S. for surplus COVID-19 vaccines

Alberta’s Kenney urges federal government to push U.S. for surplus COVID-19 vaccines

EDMONTON — Premier Jason Kenney is urging the federal government to push hard to bring surplus COVID-19 vaccines in from the United States.

Kenney says he has spoken with regional governors who are stymied by an American export ban on shipping doses over the border.

“I’ve asked Prime Minister (Justin) Trudeau to please lobby the U.S. government to relax the export restrictions (on vaccines),” Kenney told reporters Friday.

“It makes no sense for our neighbours and regional states to be sitting on doses that we cannot use.

“One state in particular has reached out and another has expressed a willingness to offer us doses,” he added.

“These are both states in the region. They have close economic ties.

”They see what’s going on in Alberta.”

In the meantime, Kenney said some Albertans have travelled south of the border to get inoculated and urged anyone else who can to do so.

“If Albertans are down south for whatever reason and they want to get a jab, I think they can pretty easily do so in most of the United States,” he said.

“I know a lot of snowbirds and others who have done just that.”

Kenney made the pitch to Trudeau this week when the prime minister called to offer any additional resources to help Alberta stem its surge of cases. Kenney’s office said the response was that no extra federal help is needed at this time.

Kenney also announced that starting Monday, Alberta truckers entering Montana to deliver goods will be eligible to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine without an appointment at a rest stop in Conrad, about 80 kilometres south of the border.

Kenney said about 800 trucks cross the border every day. It is similar to deals struck with North Dakota and Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Montana is providing the surplus vaccine and paying for the program.

Kenney’s government is banking on new restrictions and ramped up vaccines to reverse a surge in COVID-19 cases in Alberta that threaten to buckle the health system in weeks and force doctors to decide which critically ill patients get care and which don’t.

Alberta is approaching 25,000 active cases and, on Thursday, the province’s chief medical health officer, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said it’s not clear whether this third wave has crested.

More than 1.7 million Albertans have so far received at least one vaccine dose. Kenney has announced that expected additional supplies will allow everyone as young as 12 to soon get inoculated.

Those as young as 30 can now book their appointments and those as young as 12 can do so Monday. At that point, 3.8 million Albertans will be eligible out of a total population of 4.4 million.

Kenney said the province has received 350,000 doses this week, is expecting 271,000 next week and 357,000 doses the week after that.

Also Friday, all kindergarten to Grade 12 students began learning online. It is part of the restrictions announced Wednesday by Kenney.

Outdoor gatherings have been halved to five people from a maximum of 10. Indoor gatherings remain banned. There are sharper restrictions on business customer capacity and worship services.

On Sunday, barber shops, hair salons and other personal wellness service establishments must close.

Kenney has also promised renewed enforcement, particularly after hundreds of Albertans defied health rules last weekend to host a maskless “No More Lockdowns” protest rodeo near Bowden in central Alberta.

This week, the Whistle Stop Café in Mirror in central Alberta was shut down by officials for refusing to follow health rules, including a ban on indoor dining.

The restaurant has been advertising an outdoor protest rally this weekend. The province has gone to court to get a pre-emptive injunction to stop the event on the grounds it will break public health rules.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 7, 2021.

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

Coronavirus

Just Posted

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Red Deer down to 73 active cases of COVID-19, lowest since early November

The Central zone has 253 active cases of the virus

Chris Smith (left), Knud Petersen (middle left), Rose Marie Sackela and Dianne Wyntjes spoke Friday at an informational coal policy rally outside Red Deer City Hall. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Shanna Lydiard complains that her mail hasn’t been delivered for over 10 weeks due to water main construction on her West Park block. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).
Residents of Red Deer street have no mail delivery for 10-plus weeks

Shanna Lydiard says she doesn’t trust the city’s promises

FILE - Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced that Albertans could start booking second dose shots of the COVID-19 vaccine starting Tuesday night. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Public measures will be lifted: Alberta will enter Stage 3 on Canada Day

Alberta will enter Stage 3 of its Open for Summer Plan on… Continue reading

A massive round dance, involving hundreds of people at Bower Ponds, was a highlight of Canada Day celebrations in 2000. (Contributed photo)
Fireworks without a Canada Day celebration is planned for July 1 in Red Deer

Many residents aren’t in a festive mood, with recent Indigenous graves discovery

Various vaping nicotine e-liquids or "juice" are shown in a lab at Portland State University in in Portland, Ore., Tuesday, April 16, 2019. The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products… Continue reading

A supporter of presidential candidate Ebrahim Raisi holds a sign during a rally in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. Iran's clerical vetting committee has allowed just seven candidates for the Friday, June 18, ballot, nixing prominent reformists and key allies of President Hassan Rouhani. The presumed front-runner has become Ebrahim Raisi, the country's hard-line judiciary chief who is closely aligned with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
Iran votes in presidential poll tipped in hard-liner’s favor

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iranians voted Friday in a presidential… Continue reading

Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto, left, and President Seiko Hashimoto attend the news conference after receiving a report from a group of infectious disease experts on Friday, June 18, 2021, in Tokyo. The experts including Shigeru Omi, head of a government coronavirus advisory panel, issued a report listing the risks of allowing the spectators and the measurements to prevent the event from triggering a coronavirus spread. (Yuichi Yamazaki/Pool Photo via AP)
Top medical adviser says ‘no fans’ safest for Tokyo Olympics

TOKYO (AP) — The safest way to hold the Tokyo Olympics is… Continue reading

FILE - In this June 12, 2021, file photo, Rajkumar Haryani, 38, who painted his body to create awareness about vaccination against the coronavirus poses for photographs after getting a dose of Covishield vaccine in Ahmedabad, India. Starting June 21, 2021, every Indian adult can get a COVID-19 vaccine dose for free that was purchased by the federal government. The policy reversal announced last week ends a complex system of buying vaccines that worsened inequities in accessing vaccines. India is a key global supplier of vaccines and its missteps have left millions of people waiting unprotected. The policy change is likely to address inequality but questions remain and shortages will continue. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki, File)
How India is changing vaccine plan amid shortages

NEW DELHI (AP) — Starting Monday, every adult in India will be… Continue reading

Chief of Defence staff General Jonathan Vance speaks during a news conference to , in Ottawa Tuesday August 30, 2016. The Canadian Armed Forces says it is making progress in the fight against sexual misconduct in the ranks, but much more work needs to be done. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Freeze promotions until military commanders are screened for misconduct: Committee

OTTAWA — A parliamentary committee has called for a freeze on all… Continue reading

Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen takes part in an update on the COVID-19 pandemic, in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. Hussen says he is looking to municipalities to reshape local rules to more quickly build units through the government's national housing strategy. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Cities should redo planning, permitting to align with housing strategy, minister says

OTTAWA — The federal minister in charge of affordable housing says he… Continue reading

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. On June 1, NACI had said AstraZeneca recipients "could" get Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna for their second shot if they wanted, but Thursday went further to say an mRNA vaccine was the "preferred" choice. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

When Gwenny Farrell booked her second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine… Continue reading

Brooklyn Nets' James Harden, right, is guarded by Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, center, during the first half of Game 6 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series Thursday, June 17, 2021, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
Bucks bounce back to defeat Nets 104-89 and force Game 7

MILWAUKEE — Khris Middleton scored 38 points, Giannis Antetokounmpo added 30 and… Continue reading

Most Read