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Editorial: Vaccine boosters

Expanded eligibility for vaccines will help keep those ringing in the New Year more safely
Airdrie Our View_text

The provincial government announced Dec. 21 it was expanding its COVID-19 booster vaccine eligibility.

As the highly transmissible Omicron variant continues to rip through vaccinated and unvaccinated populations, with cases in Alberta jumping to more than 2,600 as of Dec. 22, Premier Jason Kenney has essentially been gifted a re-do.

In her media briefing prior to Christmas, Alberta’s top doctor said there were more options to celebrate compared to last Christmas, “thanks to the power of vaccine and the 85 per cent of Albertans who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.”

Holiday gatherings were still limited this year, but it was increased to a maximum of 10 people 18 and older — with no limits for those under 17 if accompanied by their parent or guardian. Meanwhile, pubs, restaurants and other programs adhering to the Restrictions Exemption Program were to limit their capacity, activities offered and cut alcohol service short in efforts to reduce transmission.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw still recommended people go beyond those guidelines and reduce their number of contacts by half and limit unrestricted activities where there’s high risk of transmission.

The Province is also offering Albertans free rapid antigen testing kits for at-home use, available at select pharmacies in Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer. Anecdotally, the tests have been hard to come by across the province.

These tests can detect COVID-19 whether there are symptoms or not, further protecting you and your loved ones.

The whole purpose of the holidays was to spend it with those you love, and the Province has just gifted us with the means to do that more safely.

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