Check against delivery.
Thank you, and good afternoon everyone.
Over the last 24 hours we have identified 639 new cases of COVID-19 in the province and completed about 9,800 tests.
That puts our current positivity rate at 6.1%.
There are 811 people in hospital, including 130 who have been admitted to the ICU.
Sadly, 23 new deaths were reported to us in the past 24 hours.
My deepest condolences go to the family and friends of those individuals.
Looking to schools, we will resume reporting on school cases later this week as students in all grades resumed in-person learning today.
Our overall numbers underline the importance of the immunization program that is underway.
I know that many are celebrating Alberta’s progress distributing the vaccine, and rightly so.
I also know that some have questions and even worries, as is normal with anything new.
As I said in December, Canada has one of the most robust regulatory systems for new vaccines in the world.
Health Canada moved quickly, but at the same time, there was rigorous testing and scrutiny applied to these vaccines as to any others.
Clinical trials with tens of thousands of participants from multiple countries found no safety concerns with the vaccines we are administering.
But we are not taking that for granted.
As we do with all new vaccines, we are watching closely to ensure that, if any safety signals emerge, we will be able to detect them immediately.
Like all other provinces and territories, we are working closely with the Public Health Agency of Canada, to monitor for adverse events.
As the Premier and Minister noted, we have administered more than 46,000 doses of the vaccine.
So far, we have reported seven Adverse Events Following Immunization.
These are any health problems that follow immunization.
They are not necessarily caused by the vaccine, but if a health problem happens after an immunization, we want to know so we can evaluate it.
Of the seven events reported, most were minor such as swollen lymph nodes, diarrhea, or a rash.
There were three that involved an allergic reaction. None of these were determined to be anaphylactic reactions.
However, as is our common practice, second doses are deferred until an allergy assessment determines whether a second dose is safe.
Having a limited number of adverse events is common in any immunization program, including influenza and the pneumococcal vaccine.
The current overall adverse event rate per 100,000 doses for COVID-19 vaccines is roughly comparable to the rate for pneumococcal vaccines, where eight adverse events have been reported this year from just under 31,000 doses given.
Allergic reactions can happen with any medication, vaccine, or even food.
Being ready to respond to an allergic reaction is a critical part of every immunization program.
It is why anyone who gets the COVID-19 vaccine is asked to stay under medical observation for a short time afterwards.
We will continue to closely monitor and report adverse events, and what we have seen so far is consistent with what was reported in the vaccine trials.
It is common to see side effects like fever or muscle aches after a vaccine, and this is a sign that the immune system is working to build antibodies.
I believe the benefits of vaccines far outweigh any risks, and this vaccine will save lives.
I commend the many health care workers who are leading this work across the province.
We are making excellent progress.
But this does not yet reduce the challenge that COVID-19 still poses to our health sytem and our public health.
And it does not change the important role that we all must play in the coming days.
Albertans can be proud of the way we have brought our numbers down over the last month, especially when we look at the increasing trends happening in some other jurisdictions.
We have more to do, but we are bending the curve and we must keep up this momentum in the days ahead.
Thank you and we’re happy to answer your questions.