As COVID deaths mount in December, Hinshaw addresses vaccine anxieties – Calgary Herald

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She said the same “rigorous testing and scrutiny” was applied to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine as any, adding that a clinical trial with tens of thousands of participants globally found no safety concerns.

Her comments come just hours after the first doses of the vaccine were administered in Alberta on Tuesday.

“It’s incredible to think that within a year of the virus being discovered, we already have a vaccine that is 95 per cent effective,” said Hinshaw. “And that it is already going into the arms of those caring for our long-term care residents and the sickest patients in our hospitals.”

Health-care workers in Edmonton and Calgary will continue to be immunized this week. After another 25,000 doses arrive next week, immunizations will expand to priority health-care workers across the province.

Hinshaw said the national public health agency and all provinces will be closely monitoring for adverse health reactions to the vaccine.

“I believe the benefits of vaccines far outweigh the risks and this vaccine will save lives,” she said. “There is overwhelming scientific evidence that vaccination is the best defence against serious infections. We are taking every precaution and acting on clear evidence showing that this vaccine is safe for Albertans and works.”

Hinshaw urged Albertans to get vaccinated once they have the opportunity to do so.

As cases, hospitalizations and deaths continue to increase in the province, Alberta Health Services is continuing efforts to increase hospital capacity and expand the availability of ICU and acute-care beds.