Alberta premier claims vaccine appointment demand surged post-passport program announcement
Premier Jason Kenney says vaccine appointment bookings nearly tripled after the province announced its vaccine passport program and additional public health safety measures.
The premier made the claim during a Thursday night Facebook Live event where he fielded preselected questions from the public.
Alberta will implement its own version of a proof-of-vaccination approach, which it's calling the restrictions exemption program, where individual businesses and events have the choice of requiring immunization upon entry or face restrictions.
Kenney said vaccine bookings nearly tripled from 9,400 to 25,000 in the day following Wednesday's announcement.
Still, he stressed the need for more unvaccinated people to roll up their sleeves saying Alberta's vaccine rate remains the lowest of all provinces.
"Most importantly get vaccinated. That is the solution. The solution should not (have to) be restrictions," said Kenney.
He said skeptics only need to look at the rising case numbers and the dire situation in Alberta hospitals for reasons to become immunized.
"The solution is right in front of us. It's free. It's called vaccines."
The introduction of Alberta's restrictions exemption program is an about face for the premier who previously stood steadfast against vaccine passports, but he says the program is now necessary following attempts to incentivize vaccinations through a $100 reward program and lotteries for immunized Albertans.
Alberta reported 1,718 new COVID-19 cases and 10 deaths on Thursday, bringing the death toll to approximately 2,500.
There are currently 896 patients in hospital in the province including 222 intensive care unit admissions. According to the province, 78 per cent of patients in hospital with COVID-19 cases are not fully vaccinated.