While the nation waits for the results of COVID-19 vaccine tests, one province says it's up to you to get it. Even though Alberta has the power to make people take the vaccines, Jason Kenney said he won't do it. However, he'll encourage people to take the vaccine, should one come out.
The Albertan Premier made the announcement during a Facebook live Q&A session on Wednesday, May 20 with the Chief Medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw and some cabinet members.
Kenney said there'd been "misinformation" that Alberta made it law for a vaccination to be mandatory.
"That is just a total myth," he said. "The truth is that since 1910, the Public Health Act, or its previous legislation, has had the ability to require mandatory inoculation."
"That’s, as far as we know, never been used, and certainly the government has no intention of making that mandatory.”
Kenney continued: "We would — if there is a safe, approved vaccine against a[n]... influenza pandemic of this nature... strongly encourage people to use it, as we do in flu season."
Earlier in the conference, Hinshaw noted that a vaccine likely won't be available until the next year.
"It's likely to be 2021 before we see a vaccine," she said, explaining that the clinical testing and mass manufacturing of the vaccines for distribution will take a large chunk of time — even if the vaccine shows promise.
"We understand there are some people for peculiar reasons- for whatever reasons they may have, individual reasons may choose not to participate," said Kenney.
"We’ll wait and see what happens scientifically on this."
According to Hinshaw, there are currently 10 vaccines in clinical trials around the world. One of those is in Canada.
"One of the critical elements is how effective those vaccines are at protecting people, and also the other key factor is how safe they are."
It would "take a few months" for the trials to churn out results, Hinshaw explained.
Hinshaw also praised the rapid progress we've made in already moving to clinical trials — we've only known about COVID-19 for about five months, she said.
"It really is incredible that we already have 10 clinical trials in humans underway."