EDMONTON – Albertans deserve the truth, says the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, after hearing reports this week from frontline members in long-term care (LTC) and designated supportive living (DSL) that Alberta Health Services (AHS) did not offer the COVID-19 vaccine to them.
The reports arrived just days after Premier Kenney celebrated the health authority for completing vaccinations at all of Alberta’s LTC and DSL facilities. But not all healthcare workers are cheering. Members in at least four AHS LTC and DSL sites, and many more who work in Covenant Health LTC homes, are still on a waitlist for their first dose of the vaccine. Most of the affected AUPE members work in environmental services and food services. New details are emerging on a daily basis.
“Kenney owes it to Albertans to come clean,” says AUPE Vice-President Bonnie Gostola. “Misinformation is anxiety-inducing and even fatal during a health crisis. Truth won’t inoculate us against COVID, but it will help us see our way through to the other side.”
Gostola adds that the vaccine shortage is already putting Albertans on edge. The last thing they need is lies: “Healthcare workers, and all other essential employees, are already doing their part. They’re giving everything to the fight against the pandemic, treating patients, caring for vulnerable communities and making sure they don’t bring a deadly disease home to their families– they can’t also force the government to tell the truth.”
This week, media reported on the confusion caused by the UCP’s slippery language, when stories surfaced that AHS had not immunized all continuing-care residents, who, as it turned out, were exempt from Phase 1 of the vaccine program because they receive levels of care that don’t fall within the LTC and DSL purview.
“Like so many governments before it, the UCP has allowed profiteers to completely hack up our healthcare system into a fragmented mess,” adds Gostola. “But you wouldn’t know it based on Kenney’s complete ignorance of Albertans in assisted living and respite care, or seniors who pay rent for independent suites and retirement residences, which corporate providers invented to squeeze as much cash out of vulnerable Albertans as possible.”
According to Gostola, these residents, and the workers who support them, feel deceived. They painstakingly analyzed government announcements only to realize they weren’t eligible for the vaccine.
“That’s pretty heartbreaking, but Kenney’s claim that all LTC and DSL staff were immunized is worse than misleading language,” says Gostola, “It was pure misinformation that only serves his ego and insults our members’ intelligence.”
For more information:
Celia Shea, Communications 780-720-8122
Nov 26, 2021
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