Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Alberta premier urges federal government to push U.S. for surplus COVID-19 vaccines

‘It makes no sense for our neighbours and regional states to be sitting on doses that we cannot use,’ says Jason Kenney

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.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Coronavirusvaccines

Just Posted

Langley Lake supplies the drinking water for Union Bay. File photo by Bob Ell
Comox Valley board wants to halt Union Bay-area logging plans

Regional district inviting forest company to work on watershed plan

Corwin Fox performs on the grounds of the Courtenay and District Fish & Game Club for a 2021 Vancouver Island MusicFest segment, with the iconic Comox Glacier in the background. The 2021 festival will feature numerous outdoor segments, highlighting the beauty of the Comox Valley. Photo via Island MusicFest
2021 Vancouver Island MusicFest format will showcase the beauty of the Comox Valley

The 2021 Vancouver Island MusicFest -The Virtual Edition - will be like… Continue reading

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

Comox town hall. Black Press file photo
Comox takes step closer to finalizing Northeast Comox Storm Water Management Plan

“(This has been a) tremendous work in progress for many years”

John Marinus’s daughter, Margaret McCormack, and his wife Denise were out Saturday afternoon to help the Rotary Club of Comox move some tickets for the upcoming Ducky 500, known this year as the John Marinus Memorial Ducky 500. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Rotary Club of Comox Ducky Run tickets still available

Event has been rechristened as the John Marinus Memorial Ducky 500

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read