Alberta premier Jason Kenney said the province is hoping to have its most vulnerable citizens vaccinate against COVID-19 by the end of winter. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)

Alberta premier Jason Kenney said the province is hoping to have its most vulnerable citizens vaccinate against COVID-19 by the end of winter. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)

Premier Kenney’s holiday message hits hopeful tone

Province hopes to have 10 per cent of Albertans vaccinated in first three months of 2021

As Alberta reaches what the province believes is a plateau in the COVID-19 pandemic, Premier Jason Kenney struck a tone of hope in his holiday message.

The province reported just over 1,000 new cases of the virus Thursday.

Almost 800 people have died since the beginning of the pandemic.

On Christmas Eve the premier said that there is hope on the horizon as more doses of the vaccine are set to arrive.

Health Canada approved the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine earlier this week and it could be in the province before the end of 2020.

“We’re all going to remember this terrible year of 2020, as one of darkness, a year of real loss,” he said.

“Of lives that have been taken– of livelihoods that have been disrupted– of families separated. A time of fear and uncertainty for so many. And yet, like Christmas, we’ve been inspired by points of light breaking through the darkness to renew our hope.”

He applauded Albertans for their response to the pandemic, by reaching out to elderly neighbours, producing personal protective equipment and volunteering in many different ways.

His video message also thanked front-line workers for their efforts during the pandemic. His hopeful message arrived on Christmas Eve as more than 300 health care workers in central Alberta had received the Pfizer COVID-19.

“All Albertans are filled with gratitude for your care and compassion,” said Kenney.

He said he hopes by the end of the winter that the province will have vaccinated the most vulnerable people in the population.

Phase 1 of the vaccine, which started last week includes health care workers, respiratory therapists and staff in long-term care and designated supportive living.

Phase 1A expands to home care workers and health care workers in emergency departments, as well as all residents of long term care.

Phase 1B, which is supposed to vaccinate all seniors above the age of 75 and is anticipated to be completed between February and April.

The premier has said in the past the province plans to have at least 10 per cent of Albertans vaccinated in the first three months of 2021.

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