Memo to: People we Support, Families, Guardians and Skills Society Employees
Re: Prevention and Preparedness Regarding the Novel-Corona Virus (COVID-19)
From: Senior Leadership of Skills Society
March 19, 2021
Alberta COVID-19 Vaccine Update
On March 15th, 2021 the Government of Alberta announced additional details regarding the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. We are sharing the information below and encourage people we support and employees who are eligible to book an appointment; family members and guardians of the people we support who are eligible are also encouraged to reach out to their loved one to book an appointment. Ensure doctors are consulted where appropriate and whether physicians recommend a person served by Skills Society receive a vaccine.
Please, do not wait to receive notification from Skills Society to book an appointment. If you receive supports through Skills Society or are a Skills Society employee, and are eligible now based on the Provincial Vaccine stages, we strongly encourage you to book an appointment. Skills Society has not received any direction yet or confirmation of when COVID-19 immunization for our sector will happen. If you are eligible you may be able to get the vaccine sooner by booking yourself. We’re asking Guardians, families, Team Leaders and Managers to also keep an eye on eligibility and timelines. Please don’t wait if you are eligible. Can keep checking here – https://www.alberta.ca/covid19-vaccine.aspx
Alberta COVID-19 Vaccine Phases
*Note- Eligible birth years are added based on supply and vaccine roll out timelines are subject to change depending on supply. Please see the Government of Alberta website for the most current information: https://www.alberta.ca/covid19-vaccine.aspx
Phase 2: AstraZeneca
As per the Government of Alberta COVID-19 Vaccine website, Albertans aged 50 to 64 who do not have a severe chronic illness can either:
- Receive the AstraZeneca vaccine early, or
- Wait until Phase 2D begins in May to get the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine
Appointment bookings open in stages by birth year, one year at a time:
- March 18th – Born in 1957-61
- More appointments and birth years will be added as supply becomes available.
Call 811 to book. AstraZeneca cannot be booked online or in pharmacies at this time.
According to AHS, AstraZeneca has been proven to be highly effective in preventing serious illness and death in healthy adults 18 to 64. Eligible people we support and staff should consult their physician to get their opinion about receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Phase 2 Group A
People in Group A can receive the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine. Appointment bookings open in stages by birth year, one year at a time
- Albertans aged 65 to 74, booked in stages by birth year: March 18th – Born 1947-54
- First Nations, Inuit and Métis people aged 50 and older: March 18th – Born 1962-69
- Staff and residents of licensed supportive living (seniors) not included in Phase 1
Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are prioritized for people most at risk of severe outcomes, due to limited supply.
Phase 2 Group B (April to June)
Albertans born 2005 to 1957 (16 to 64) with any one of the high-risk underlying health conditions as identified by the Government (see list here) will be eligible once vaccinations for Group A has been completed. Timelines are subject to change depending on supply.
Phase 2 Group C (April to June)
Who’s eligible in Group C
- Residents and support staff at eligible congregate living and work settings at risk for large outbreaks, including: correctional facilities, front-line policing and provincial sheriffs, homeless shelters, meatpacking plants, and group homes for disability, mental health and other types of licensed supportive living.
- Health-care workers working in patient care facilities or providing direct patient care in the community, in order to limit spread to high risk individuals, including: physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dentists and all other regulated health care professionals and their office or support staff.
- Anyone working in patient care facilities or providing services directly to clients in the community for Alberta Health Services, Covenant Health, Alberta Precision Labs, DynaLife, and students undertaking placement practicums in clinical areas.
- Healthcare workers on First Nation reserves.
- Caregivers of Albertans who are most at risk of severe outcomes:
- All designated family/support people of those individuals in long term care, designated supportive living and licensed supportive living facilities.
- Up to 2 caregivers for children under 16 who have an eligible chronic condition but are unable to receive vaccine due to age.
- Workers or students eligible in Phase 2C will need to provide personal identification that contains a birth date and proof of employment or professional registration (employee ID card, letter of employment or placement) when booking or attending their appointments with Alberta Health Services or at community pharmacies.
Phase 2 Group D (April to June)
Group D (also see Phase 2: AstraZeneca for earlier access)
- Albertans born 1957 to 1971 (turning 50 to 64).
- First Nations, Métis and Inuit persons born 1972 to 1986 (turning 35 to 49), no matter where they live.
How to book
There are three ways to book your first appointment once it’s your turn:
What to bring with you to your appointment
- Government Issued ID;
- Alberta Health Care card;
- For individuals who have an alternate decision-maker, the signed AHS COVID-19 Immunization Consent form. Team Leaders can help you access this through MyCompass;
- Any additional items you are asked by Health to bring when you book.
Sign up to get notified when it’s your turn to be vaccinated
Sign up to receive email updates when each group of Alberta’s phased COVID-19 vaccination program is announced here.
For more information on Alberta’s COVID-19 vaccine program visit alberta.ca/covid-19-vaccine.
COVID-19 Cases in Alberta and at Skills Society
As of March 18th, Alberta has 5,084 active cases (1,231 in the Edmonton zone), and 505 new cases (91 variant cases) in Alberta were identified on March 17th.
In our Skills Society Community, to date and since the beginning of the pandemic 37 individuals we serve and 42 employees have tested positive with COVID-19.
The Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) Dr. Hinshaw, continues to remind Albertans that these next few months are critical, and until everyone can be immunized, all Albertans need to remain vigilant and follow all COVID-19 safety precautions and public health guidance.
Skills Society continues to take a cautious and balanced approach – safeguarding the people we support and employees as best possible and taking into account individual and guardian wishes, as well as roommate plans. Our temporary COVID-19 measures regarding supporting non-essential outings continue to remain in place until further notice (please see the January 11th memo to everyone for additional details). These temporary measures are in place to help protect staffing models and further reduce potential transmission of COVID-19. As with the provincial mandatory public health restrictions, these temporary measures are continuously reviewed and will be re-evaluated at the end of March. We continue to be advised by our funders and Health to follow health orders for Albertans most vulnerable to COVID-19. We are doing our best to stay informed and cautious, as there are many unknowns about the COVID-19 variants of concern. We do not want to be easing restrictions too quickly, and continue to monitor cases within Alberta and our organization closely. We do understand this is tough, and with spring approaching and vaccines coming there is hope, however we are not out of the woods yet and we need to hang in a bit longer as we all watch together. This won’t last forever. As soon as we become aware of new information from the government or Health Authorities we will communicate this to the people we support, families, guardians, and staff in a timely manner.
Remember, people we serve direct their own lives and make their own decisions. We are diligent about sharing the most up to date information with people we serve and guardians in order to be aware of the recommendations from Health Authorities, our Ministry CSS/PDD and the safeguards, policies and expectations we have in place for our Skills employees. People we serve and their guardians have rights and responsibilities in the decisions and risks they assume around activities undertaken during the global pandemic. We are recommended to follow the health orders as best we can and adapt them to non-medical settings. In addition, most people we serve do not live alone, but with roommates whom we also support. Roommates and guardians have different perspectives and the choices of each roommate and guardian will impact each other. We need roommates and guardians to work together to find common ground that keeps everyone in the home as safe as possible.
With the weather warming we encourage people to spend time outdoors with appropriate gear to stay warm and safe. People we serve and guardians are asked to reference individual and roommate COVID-19 plans regarding outdoor visits/gatherings, while following and abiding by all municipal and provincial restrictions and health measures.
Indoor social gathering restrictions remain in place provincewide. All indoor social gatherings, both public and private, are prohibited, and close contacts are limited to household members only. For more information on the provincial mandatory public health measures visit alberta.ca/COVID19.
Senior Leadership Team of Skills Society
For More Information
- If you are a family or guardian and require additional information please be in touch with the manager associated with your loved one’s support.
- If you are a Skills Employee and require additional information you can be in touch with your supervisor or Pandemic Coordinators, Linda or Ed at 780-496-9686.
- Keep up to date on our COVID-19 Resources section on our website: https://skillssociety.ca/covid19-resources/.
Previous Public Memos
Public Memos are available on our website under the ‘news’ tab.
Note: What’s happening with COVID-19 is changing rapidly. We become aware of new information from the provincial and federal governments and health authorities on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. We are working hard to be responsive to this new information as it becomes available. As such, information in this memo may change and quickly become outdated. We are doing our best to communicate new information to the people we support, families, guardians, and staff in a timely manner.