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

Environment Canada has issued a thunderstorm watch for the Cariboo north including Quesnel. (Black Press file image)
Environment Canada issues thunderstorm watch for Quesnel

A chance of thundershowers is forcasted to last until Tuesday

The Gold Pan Grannies attended the Quesnel Farmers’ Market where they sold perennials and vegetable plants and fruit trees by donation Saturday, May 29. They were able to raise $1,000 for the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
Gold Pan Grannies raise $1,000 for Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign

Annual plant sale at Quesnel Farmers’ Market a success

Amy Vardy is one of four dancers to compete in their final year of the Quesnel Festival of the Performing Arts. (Submitted Photo)
Quesnel Festival of the Arts graduating dancer profile: Amy Vardy

The Quesnel Festival of the Performing arts is honouring their graduating dancers

Ranch Musings columnist David Zirnhelt. (File photo)
RANCH MUSINGS: Predictions of climate variability and effects on agriculture

Oliver Rujanschi, we will miss you and the warmth that you were. Sorry friend

Emily Nelson is one of four graduating dancers honoured by the Quesnel Festival of the Performing Arts.(Submitted Photo - Robyn Louise Photography)
Quesnel Festival of the Arts graduating dancer profile: Emily Nelson

The Festival of the Arts is honouring graduating dancers

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Highway notices like this come down effective June 14. Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and commercial operation have hit local businesses in every corner of B.C. (B.C. government)
Province-wide travel back on in B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan

Gathering changes include up to 50 people for outdoor events

Calgary Stampeders’ Jerome Messam leaps over a tackle during second half CFL western semifinal football action in Calgary, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
CFL football will be played this summer in Canada

Governors vote unanimously in favour to start the ‘21 campaign on Aug. 5

Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino holds a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. The federal government is announcing that Indigenous people can now apply to reclaim their names on passports and other government documents. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous people can now reclaim traditional names on their passports and other ID

Announcement applies to all individuals of First Nations, Inuit and Métis background

Harvesting hay in the Fraser Valley. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
COVID-19: B.C. waives farm income requirement for a second year

Property owners don’t need minimum income for 2022 taxes

Cruise ship passengers arrive at Juneau, Alaska in 2018. Cruise lines have begun booking passengers for trips from Seattle to Alaska as early as this July, bypassing B.C. ports that are not allowed to have visitors until March 2022 under a Canadian COVID-19 restrictions. (Michael Penn/Juneau Empire)
B.C. doesn’t depend on U.S. law to attract cruise ships, Horgan says

Provinces to get update next week on Canada’s border closure

This undated photo provided by Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails shows a scout donating cookies to firefighters in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, as part of the Hometown Heroes program. As the coronavirus pandemic wore into the spring selling season, many Girl Scout troops nixed their traditional cookie booths for safety reasons. That resulted in millions of boxes of unsold cookies. (Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails via AP)
Thinner Mints: Girl Scouts have millions of unsold cookies

Since majority of cookies are sold in-person, pandemic made the shortfall expected

In this artist’s sketch, Nathaniel Veltman makes a video court appearance in London, Ont., on June 10, 2021 as Justice of the Peace Robert Seneshen (top left) and lawyer Alayna Jay look on. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alexandra Newbould
Terror charges laid against London attack suspect

Crown says Nathaniel Veltman’s four counts of first-degree murder constitute an act of terrorism

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province's fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Most Read