BOW VALLEY – Vaccinations are opening up this week for children aged five to 11 and a new QR code for vaccine passports to meet the recommended Canadian standard for domestic and international travel is now available.
On Tuesday (Nov. 23), the province announced its plans to roll out vaccinations for children five to 11, with appointments for first doses for this age group beginning as early as Friday (Nov. 26).
Provincial officials say walk-ins are not available at this time, and the first-dose appointments must be booked through the Alberta vaccine booking system at alberta.ca/vaccine or by phoning Health Link at 811.
“The evidence is clear that the paediatric Pfizer vaccine is highly effective at limiting the spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health on Tuesday.
“Parents who choose to have their young children vaccinated against this virus will not only help to protect their kids, but their families and communities too.”
Also on Tuesday, the province announced Alberta’s vaccine passports will be updated to meet the recommended Canadian standard for domestic and international travel.
As of Wednesday (Nov. 24), Albertans planning to travel can now download an updated vaccine record with a QR code at alberta.ca/CovidRecords or get it printed at no cost by visiting a registry agent office or by calling 811.
The updated version also includes middle names and the record is in both official languages.
Provincial officials say there is no need for Albertans who already have a QR code vaccine record to save or reprint the updated version if they do not intend to travel.
They say Albertans can continue to use their already saved vaccine record with a QR code to access local businesses and venues taking part in the Restrictions Exemption Program (REP).
Jason Copping, Alberta’s Health Minister, said the idea behind the new updated version is to make it easier for Albertans to travel at home and abroad with an internationally recognized proof of vaccination.
“Millions of vaccinated Albertans already have a secure QR vaccine record and they can still use it to safely enjoy activities within our province,” he said in a news release.
“An updated QR code will allow those who want to travel to quickly and easily provide proof of vaccination.”
As of Nov. 23, there were 5,001 active COVID-19 cases province-wide. There are 475 people in hospital, including 94 in intensive care. The provincial death toll from COVID is 3,227.
There have been a total of 1,132 COVID-19 cases in Banff-Lake Louise since the pandemic began. There have been 1,128 recovered cases and one death. There were three active cases as of Nov. 24.
In neighbouring Canmore, there are eight active cases. A total of 632 cases have been diagnosed since the pandemic began, including two deaths.
There are 11 active cases in the Municipal District of Bighorn, which includes Harvie Heights, Exshaw, Lac Des Arcs and Stoney Nakoda at Morley.
“While over the past few weeks, we have begun to come down the other side of the fourth wave, we have seen before how fast things can change,” said Dr. Hinshaw.
“I would like to remind Albertans that we must stay vigilant – especially as temperatures drop and we head into winter.”