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Shandro outlines what's next for phase two of vaccine rollout

Last Updated Dec 23, 2020 at 3:11 pm MDT

Nurse Venus Lucero administers the first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the Ottawa Hospital to Jo-Anne Miner at a vaccination clinic, Tuesday December 15, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

EDMONTON – We know healthcare workers are the first in this province to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but who gets it next?

Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro says there is a reason why the government hasn’t announced who is next in line.

“A lot of it depends on how many vaccines we will have available to us for phase two,” Shandro told 660 NEWS in an exclusive interview.

“We’re going to work with the public health groups to determine if there are priority groups for phase two and who those are and communicate those to Albertans as soon as we can.”

Shandro says the provincial government has been working since the summer to try and get vaccine storage and distribution plans in place so it doesn’t have to rely on the federal government.

“We’re ready. The only limitation is approvals by Health Canada for the other vaccine candidates and then the manufacturers to give us our per-capita allotment here in Alberta.”

RELATED: Canada approves Moderna COVID-19 vaccine

Once again, he pointed out the vaccine will not be mandatory–that will be up to you to decide.

But he does encourage everyone to get a vaccination once they become eligible to do so.

“We’re not going to tie people down and stab them in the shoulder,” he said.

“Obviously, vaccines are safe, vaccines are effective. I get my flu shot every year. Vaccines are a great way for me to not only protest myself but also protect the vulnerable people around me.”

-with files from Saif Kaisar