COCHRANE— The Cochrane RancheHouse has been confirmed as COVID-19 vaccine inoculation site.
“It feels great to be a part of the positive rollout of an optimistic light at the end of the tunnel … And the provinces rollout of the vaccine,” said Mayor Jeff Genung. “I’m happy the Town can play a part in that.”
The community has been dealing with the COVID-19 public health crisis for the past year, he said, and it is exciting being able to deliver a message of hope through the steps being taken to return to a semblance of normal life in the town and the province.
The inoculation site will be located in the Hall of Vision at the RancheHouse.
Based on his understanding, Genung said, the RancheHouse was chosen as a vaccine distribution site after thorough research by Alberta Health Services. The location was chosen because it has adequate parking, transit access and the ability to establish separate entrances and exits to maintain physical distancing.
Genung noted there have been some concerns from the community the site is not easily accessible for all residents, but vaccines will also be available at the Cochrane Urgent Care Centre.
The vaccination site is not expected to interrupt operations for Town staff at the RanchHouse, Genung added, as the majority of staff are currently working at home.
Genung said he is unaware if other locations for an inoculation site were explored by Alberta Health Services. Town administration was in discussion with Alberta Health Services for about a month before the RancheHouse was selected.
An increased vaccine rollout is a welcomed event for many Albertans, Genung said. He cited the 75,000 Albertans over the age of 75 who signed up for the vaccine on the first day appointments were available through Health Link on Wednesday (Feb. 24).
“There is a demand for the vaccine, at least with that demographic,” Genung said. “If we can be a part of that rollout and the hope for people I’m excited about that.”
As vaccinations in town ramp up and the weather in Cochrane warms up, Genung said, the year is already looking to be one of hope for the community.
“It’s providing hope for people and in a long time that’s not been in the equation,” Genung said. “I’m happy. I’m hearing from a lot of residents who already have an appointment.”
Immunization appointments can be booked online via Health Link 811.
On Wednesday (Feb. 24) Alberta seniors who turn 75 years old in 2021 became eligible to book their appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine is received in two doses, given five to six weeks apart.
Under Phase 1B of the province’s vaccine rollout, anyone born in 1946 or earlier can receive the vaccine and First Nations and Metis residents who are 65 or older are also eligible.
Phase 2 of the vaccine rollout is expected to begin in April and run until September. During that time Albertans aged 65 to 74, staff and residents of licensed supportive living, Albertans aged 18 to 64 with underlying high-risk health conditions, congregate living residents and staff and Albertans aged 50 to 64 will join the legions of those who have been immunized.
The general public is expected to begin receiving the COVID-19 vaccine in the fall.
As of Sunday (Feb. 28) the province has administered 235,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, and more than 88,000 people have been fully immunized with two doses.
In Alberta there are currently 67 active immunization clinics, said Alberta Health Services in a statement provided to The Cochrane Eagle.
The vaccine sites are a mix of facilities and the number of available sites will vary as more clinics open.
Immunization centres are available through appointment only— No drop-ins of any kind are available at the clinics.
“When someone is eligible for the COVID vaccine, the process is that they book an appointment using the online tool on the AHS website,” reads the statement. “If it is not feasible to book online they may call Health Link. Once you have booked your appointment with AHS, you will be provided with a confirmation with the location, date and time for your first and second dose appointment.”