Kenney says UCP caucus has ‘free will’ to decide whether to get COVID-19 vaccine

Premier Jason Kenney said his message for his UCP caucus regarding getting the COVID-19 vaccine is the same one he has for all Albertans: “to strongly encourage everyone to get the jab as quick as they can.” Kenney said he won’t be compelling members to make their appointments.

Kenney said Friday that Albertans can expect to see a large advertising campaign coming soon with “fresh messaging” encouraging people to roll up their sleeves and get the shot, particularly those who have had doubts or skepticisms.

“I haven’t heard any of that in my caucus… My colleagues, as far as I know, intend to get vaccinated and have as soon as they have been eligible,” the premier said.

Read more: Canadians’ trust in COVID-19 vaccines growing, but it depends on the shot: survey 

Kenney got his own shot on shot on April 22, tweeting a photo of himself with the message that the process was seamless and efficient.

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Two days prior, Health Minister Tyler Shandro and chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw also got theirs, and also shared the news on Twitter.

The premier said he doesn’t think Albertans seeing their government representatives getting their shots, and encouraging the greater population to get vaccinated, will compel people to sign up for their own.

“I think vaccination is a choice that everybody makes for themselves and I don’t think people will go and get the jab because some politician does.”

“I’ve gone out there as premier to demonstrate that I got vaccinated as quick as I was qualified because I do think it’s my role as head of government to set an example, but I really don’t think people are going to be influenced one way or another by what politicians do on this,” Kenney said.

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“Everybody’s got free will. No one’s being compelled to do this.”

Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services have said they won’t require staff to get vaccinated, however all workers are strongly encouraged to get immunized when their eligibility window opens.

On Thursday, Alberta opened immunization eligibility to anyone over the age of 30, and as of Monday, anyone 12 years and older will be be able to book their appointment for their first dose.

Read more: Hope, excitement in the air as Albertans 30+ book COVID-19 vaccine appointments

Kenney said public opinion polling has shown an increase in recent months in the number of Albertans who intend to get immunized.

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Alberta has administered nearly 1.8 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to date, Kenney said, with 282 adverse events following immunization.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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