‘Long way to go’: Kenney launching $5 million advertising campaign to encourage more Albertans to get vaccinated

Vaccinated Calgarian: Nannan Xie stands back of a window with the indoor masking requirements in Center Street in Calgary on Saturday, May 26, 2021. Nannan Xie booked her vaccination appointment on the first day that she was eligible. (Photo by Sugege Du/The Press)

Alberta’s premier says there’s nothing he can do about Albertans who refuse to get vaccinated, but he’ll spend $5 million trying to turn the tide.

According to the newest vaccination rates reported by the Government of Alberta, 2,532,143 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Alberta, and 48.7 per cent of Albertans have received at least one dose.

However, some Albertans still have low confidence in vaccines.

The Public Health Agency of Canada reports that Canada will need 75 per cent of people to be fully vaccinated to ease the indoor COVID-19 restrictions. Getting more Albertans vaccinated is an important part of meeting the national immunization goal.

Premier Jason Kenney addressed the vaccine hesitancy issue during a multi-cultural roundtable meeting last Wednesday.

“I do not think there is anything we can do about that 10 per cent Albertans who are strongly opposed to vaccines,” said Kenney. “They have certain ideas in their mind.”

Kenney said that his government is launching a $5 million advertising campaign to encourage people to get vaccinated. The advertising will address some of the misconceptions about the safety of vaccines.

The advertising campaign will include social media, online media and television ads, and two direct mailers.

Kenney said that in a recent public opinion poll from Angus Reid, about 70 per cent of Albertans say they are willing to get the COVID-19 vaccine. About 10 per cent of Albertans say they are somewhat likely to get the vaccine. About 10 per cent of Albertans say they are somewhat unlikely, and 10 per cent won’t get the vaccine.

“That mid-group, about 20 per cent who are open to getting vaccinated, have questions and doubts about the vaccines. We need to educate those individuals,” Kenney said.

Nannan Xie is a 29-year-old Calgarian who booked her vaccination appointment on the first day that she was eligible.

“I would say good luck to those who do not want to get vaccinated,” she said. “Getting the COVID-19 doses is for your own benefit.”

Xie was impressed with her experience of getting vaccinated at the TELUS Convention Centre.

“Everything was so safe; the staff members are well-trained,” said Xie. “I got the Pfizer, and I have no side effects.”

Lily Zhou, a customer service representative at the Bank of Montreal, says that she was hesitant about getting the vaccine because of the link between a rare blood clot and AstraZeneca doses.

“I heard they stopped administered AstraZeneca vaccines, so I went to book mine,” she said. “Hopefully, everyone will get their vaccines as soon as possible.”

While the Albertan vaccination rate keeps rising, it still remains to be seen how effective the $5 million vaccination campaign will be.