Red Deer is lagging behind other cities, and the provincial average, when it comes to COVID-19 vaccinations.
As of Monday morning, about 51.7 per cent of Red Deerians had received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 18.9 per cent had received two doses (based on average of three city divisions as seen on the provincial vaccine map).
Meanwhile, Lethbridge vaccination rate is at 63 per cent with one dose and about 22.1 per cent with two doses. Calgary is at 64.1 per cent with one dose and 17.1 per cent with two doses and Edmonton is at 60.5 per cent with one dose and 17.4 with two doses.
About 68.7 per cent of Albertans have had their first shot province-wide and 20.2 per cent have received both doses.
“I am concerned one of the poorest places for vaccine uptake in Alberta is where I happen to live. It means myself, and people I know, are higher at risk than would otherwise be the case. It’s pretty easy to reduce the risk level,” said Doug Taylor, of Red Deer, who has examined the vaccination rates posted by Alberta Health Services.
“To me it’s a concern. I think the Red Deer area is a candidate for another wave of COVID-19, and I thought people should be aware of it.”
Taylor, 76, said he’s had two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, and his children and grandchildren are all getting vaccinated too.
He said he was pleased the rate of new COVID cases is dropping in Alberta, but the Delta variant could create problems here just as it has in Britain.
On Monday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the next planned relaxation of coronavirus restrictions in England will be delayed by four weeks, until July 19, as a result of the spread of the Delta variant.
The Delta variant first found in India is estimated by scientists advising the government to be between 40 per cent and 80 per cent more transmissible than the previous dominant strain. It now accounts for more than 90 per cent of infections in the U.K.
Taylor is also concerned that local MLAs have not been more involved in promoting vaccination compared with Premier Jason Kenney.
“I’m puzzled by the lack of support from elected representatives. Canada is under a pandemic threat and our local officials are, to my knowledge, quite quiet about it.”
Red Deer North MLA Adriana LaGrange posted a photo on Instagram when she received her first COVID shot in March. Red Deer South MLA Jason Stephan posted on social media in mid-May that he felt that vaccination was a personal and private choice.
—With files from The Associated Press