Update: The Government of Alberta has just announced that Phase 2C has just been expanded to include all frontline disability support staff effective April 30th at 08:00 as communicated in the following release: https://www.alberta.ca/release.cfm?xID=780503162D536-D374-A9C3-0A8666521534684B
There have been some exciting developments on the covid-19 vaccine front that we wanted to share with the CASS community.
As with all of our undertakings, our objective is to support the health and well-being of our staff and the individuals we support. This information is intended to help all members of the CASS community to make the best and most informed decisions possible.
As you may be aware, according to the Government of Alberta (GoA) web page on the subject of vaccines (https://www.alberta.ca/covid19-vaccine.aspx), some frontline disability support staff are identified as being eligible under Phase 2C of the roll-out. Currently that GoA vaccine webpage indicates that only frontline disability support staff that work in congregate care, long term care, or licensed homes will qualify under Phase 2C.
We are excited to announce that following fierce advocacy from our sector, all frontline disability support staff and sub-contractors that directly interact with individuals in service are now eligible to receive a vaccine under the second half of Phase 2C which is expected to commence in the next week or two.
You can book your free vaccination using the online tool available here: https://www.alberta.ca/covid19-vaccine.aspx#book
When getting your vaccine, you may be required to provide letter from your employer proving that you are eligible under the terms defined in Phase 2C. All CASS Staff and sub-contracted Support Home Providers/Supportive Neghbours have been provided with a letter confirming their eligibility via email as of yesterday, April 19th, 2021.
Please be advised that the GoA’s webpage on the subject of covid-19 vaccines has still not been updated to reflect this recent change in eligibility criteria but we have received confirmation from multiple parties including at a townhall with Dr. Hinshaw and AHS representatives. We hope that the webpage will be updated appropriately in the near future.
We are also excited to share that the AstraZeneca/Covishield vaccine is now available for any Albertan over the age of 40 starting today Tuesday April 20th as was announced by the Government of Alberta on Sunday night.
All CASS staff and clients are strongly encouraged to get whatever vaccine is available to them at this time. We understand that some people might have some reservations about getting a vaccine for covid-19. Included in this email below are some facts about covid-19 vaccines which are intended to help address any concerns you may have.
If you require support because of limited mobility or other concerns regarding transportation to get your covid-19 vaccine shot, please call 211 for assistance.
If you are homebound, you can find information about how to get vaccinated in your home here: https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/topics/Page17349.aspx
You can find more information about the vaccines available in Canada at the following locations:
Government of Alberta Vaccine Information Page Government of Canada Vaccines for Covid-19 Information Page Alberta Council of Disability Services Vaccine Information Page Homewood Health Separating Fakes from Fake News (PDF)
You can access information about covid-19 and the vaccines available which have been translated into other languages here: https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/topics/Page17038.aspx
Finally, we have also been informed that Dr. Deena Hinshaw will be hosting a Town Hall for frontline disability support staff on the subject of vaccines. We will forward more information regarding that Town Hall to you as soon as it is available.
Facts about Covid-19 Vaccines
- Vaccine creation was not rushed. Steps weren’t skipped.
- Viral vector vaccines cannot cause infection with COVID-19 or the virus used as the vaccine vector.
- Contrary to rumours, mRNA vaccines do not change our DNA.
- It remains riskier to you, your friends, family members, and the people you support to stay un-vaccinated.
- Vaccines only work if people take them. Ending the pandemic requires the majority of people to become vaccinated to reach herd immunity.
- Vaccination is something that you can do to help protect your family, friends, and community.
- Side effects of vaccination may include pain at the injection site, body chills, feeling tired, and feeling feverish. These are normal and should not be feared.
- The risk of blood clots associated with the AstraZeneca/CoviShield vaccine are many times lower than the risk of blood clots associated with covid-19 or many daily activities such as smoking or fall related injuries.
- Speak to your healthcare provider if you have lingering concerns. Your physician or nurse practitioner likely has received their COVID-19 vaccine. Ask them what their experience was like.
- Speak to your healthcare provider if you have serious allergies or known allergies to the ingredients in the vaccine (which can be found here: Vaccines for COVID-19 – Canada.ca).
- People who are pregnant breastfeeding, or want to become pregnant can get vaccinated against COVID-19. Speak to your healthcare professional.
It has been a long hard year but are excited to see some light at the end of the tunnel.