Adults in Alberta who haven't been fully vaccinated yet have now been given an incentive to do so with the provincial government announcing that it is offering $100 to anyone who receives a first or second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine between Sept. 3 and Oct. 14.
A total of 80 per cent of the COVID-19 cases not in hospital ICUs are unvaccinated and over 91 per cent in ICU are unvaccinated.
"For the love for God, please get vaccinated," Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said. "These numbers say it better than anybody every could."
"The reality is that we as a government don't get to choose how the virus behaves or how many people choose to protect themselves against it. We just have to find a way of limiting the damage that it causes, especially to our healthcare system."
In order to receive $100 after vaccination, each eligible Albertan can register online to have their immunization data validated. This website will be available starting on Sept. 13 and individuals who do not have access to a computer can contact 310-0000 for assistance on that same date.
When questioned about why the provincial government is compensating people who have "held out" to get a COVID-19 vaccine, when they're the people driving the pandemic situation in the province, Kenney defended the provincial government's approach.
"I wish we didn't have to do this but this is not a time for moral judgement, this is a time to get people vaccinated," Kenney said. "We have done everything we can, left no stone unturned, made it as easy as possible...and yet we have the lowest vaccination rate in Canada, we are about five percentage points below the Canadian average."
"If the choice is between a sustained crisis in our hospitals or, God forbid, widespread restrictions, which I want to avoid at all costs, or finding some way to get the attention of those vaccine latecomers, we're going to choose the latter."
Kenney went on to say that "remove some of the barriers" to vaccination for lower income groups in the province.
"Imagine that you might be a very low-income person, living in a remote area, who can't afford the gas to drive into town to get the shot, this will cover you," the premier said. "Maybe you're a very low-income person who can't afford a taxi to go to the local pharmacy, what have you, and you're not aware of the free ride shares that we're offering, this will give you that little bit of help."
"I think this may also help to reduce barriers for some of the folks who might be facing barriers because of lower income status."
Several people have taken to social media to comment on Alberta's decision to provide $100 to individuals who have yet to be fully vaccinated, if they come forward and do so.
Your life in Alberta is only worth $100. You can’t make this shit up. @jkenney was doing so well. Then bam gets hit with the stupid stick again.
— Theo Fleury (@TheoFleury14) September 3, 2021
Welcome to Alberta, where we don’t have money for nurses but can find cash to pay the worst of us $100 to do what every decent person did more than a month ago.
— Tony Charron (@manaboutcowtown) September 3, 2021
Interesting political choice to pay the 20-30% unvaccinated, rather than encourage vaccination by rewarding all Albertans who do the right thing (including the 70-80% who already have) with a vaccine passport giving them access to restaurants, bars, events.
— Blake Shaffer 📊 (@bcshaffer) September 3, 2021
Kenney's bright idea after three weeks in France: cut nurses salaries but give money to antivaxxers.
— Ubaka Ogbogu (@UbakaOgbogu) September 3, 2021
“We have left no stone unturned, and yet we have the lowest vaccination rate in Canada.” -Jason Kenney
Except, you know, vaccine passports, which you refuse to consider.
— Max Fawcett 🇵🇸 (@maxfawcett) September 3, 2021
My Alberta friends who got vaccinated because it was the right thing to do. Now your tax money will be paid to the Antivax/antimask crowd. Jesus Kenney stop blaming the lower income people.
— Carol-Anne Canuck (@CFosee) September 3, 2021
If Kenney’s concern is truly about low income people who can’t afford to get to a clinic for a vaccine, FUND THE HEALTHCARE SYSTEM AND VACCINE ROLLOUT PROPERLY TO BRING VACCINES TO PEOPLE INSTEAD OF THROWING CASH AT THE PEOPLE WHO ARE INTENTIONALLY PROLONGING THIS PANDEMIC.
— Britt (@brrittannyh) September 3, 2021
So we are punishing small businesses, cancelling surgeries, and pausing return to work plans while paying the people who put us here in the first place? Do I have that right?
— Carolyn Sherstone (@carashers) September 3, 2021
And doing all this while waiting until ICU capacity was at *95%*
This is staggering irresponsibility from Jason Kenney and an unbelievable show of incompetence
Alberta, if you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention https://t.co/n0tJUoBw4u
— Janis Irwin (@JanisIrwin) September 3, 2021
@jkenney: "How can we get people acting responsibly?"
Common Sense: "Vaccine passports..."
Kenney: "That looks like a Trudeau win. How about we hurt small businesses and reward irresponsible people, instead, while not rewarding people that did their part?"
Common Sense: .....
— Fauphpocalypse Now (@TheFauph) September 3, 2021