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Alberta gov't looking to combat vaccine hesitancy, misinformation: Shandro

Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro wears a mask and uses some hand sanitizer before a press conference begins in Calgary on Monday, August 24, 2020. (PHOTO: Tom Ross, 660 NEWS)

Recent poll says 22% of Albertans unwilling to get vaccine or unsure

Health Minister Tyler Shandro says province is working on reaching misinformed people

EDMONTON – With vaccine hesitancy remaining high in the province, Alberta’s health minister says his government is trying to tackle the issue.

A recent poll found that vaccine hesitancy remains highest in the Prairie provinces, specifically in Alberta.

Angus Reid numbers indicate one-in-five Albertans say they’re either unwilling or unsure about getting vaccinated.

Hesitancy appears to be a more significant problem regionally, jumping to 22 per cent of the population Alberta, and 15 per cent each in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. (CREDIT: Angus Reid)

That’s twice the national average, and higher than the next two provinces with the most vaccine hesitancy–Saskatchewan and Manitoba–which sit around 15 per cent unwilling or unsure.

READ MORE: Vaccinated Canadians won’t be spending time around the unvaccinated: poll

Health Minister Tyler Shandro agrees the problem exists and the province knows there are some people who won’t get the vaccine no matter what.

“From our own polling, we see that there could be anywhere from eight to 10 per cent of folk in the province who are just not, no matter what we say, going to take the vaccine,” he said.

“We’re never going to get to 100 per cent [vaccinated].”

So the UCP is trying to target another section of people who he says have been misinformed about the vaccine.

“There’s a grey area of folks, as there is in every province, for people who could be targetted and making sure they understand the safety and the efficacy. Our focus is on making sure access isn’t an issue for those people and that they understand the facts around safety and efficacy,” he said.

“In the grey area that hasn’t had first or second doses yet, I think we can reach out to [them].”

Shandro adds the province has been focused on speed and volume but is now making sure everyone who wants the shot has access to it.