Most of Red Deer’s civic leaders have confirmed they received their first vaccinations against COVID-19.
Only Mayor Tara Veer declined to say whether she received a shot.
“As a matter of long-standing principle I do not comment on my personal life in public,” Veer said in an emailed statement to the Advocate, “however I would like to strongly encourage Red Deerians and Albertans to uphold public health orders, to consult with their doctor, and get vaccinated when they are eligible.”
“I strongly believe in vaccinations,” added Veer, who also expressed “high confidence” in the Alberta Health Services vaccination program, which she believes is effective and efficient.
The mayor acknowledged Alberta is headed for a significant milestone this week with nearly two million vaccine doses administered. “This is welcome news at this critical time, when we need to significantly reduce community spread,” protect hospital capacity and help with economic recovery, said Veer.
Other councillors were upfront about their situations.
Councillors Frank Wong, Lawrence Lee, Ken Johnston, Vesna Higham, and Dianne Wyntjes confirmed they received the first of the jabs medical experts say are needed to ultimately end the pandemic.
Coun. Michael Dawe said he has an appointment booked and is waiting to get his Pfizer shot.
Coun. Buck Buchanan revealed he still has some pondering to do, as he got “sick as a hound” for a week-to-10-days after receiving two previous flu shots. Buchanan stressed he’s not an “anti-vaxer” and noted his wife already received both of her vaccinations.
“I think it is a good thing, I am just a little tentative, for me.”
Coun. Tanya Handley could not immediately be reached for comment on Thursday.
Wyntjes said she and her spouse discussed the matter of privacy and decided to speak out to “help people who are weighing out the risk…
“It’s something we can do to demonstrate our commitment to the vaccination program.”
Medical health experts are urging citizens to get vaccinated against COVID-19, saying it’s the best decision for the vast population, and the only way things will return to normal.
Some people are hesitating — “I have friends who say they aren’t taking it until they know more,” said Wyntjes, who believes vaccines are far less risky than getting COVID-19, which has caused thousands of hospitalizations and so far 2,123 deaths in Alberta. “I tell them, ‘That’s fine, but I’m (getting vaccinated) to protect you,’” she added.
Johnston, Lee, Higham and Wong reported feeling a rise of optimism after getting their shots.
“I had a tear in my eye, it had that kind of effect,” said Johnston, who described feeling “humility” in receiving a potentially life-saving inoculation after a year of great stress on global health systems.
Now that Higham’s kids have also been vaccinated, she said, “I feel safer. This is the real key to get us through these restrictions and all the burdens we have carried for the last year.”
Red Deer Catholic Schools could not be reached for comment on Thursday.