Jason Copping: September MLA Update

Posted Under: Jason Copping

Earlier this week I was asked to move from the ministerial portfolio I have held since I was first elected as the Minister of Labour and Immigration. I have truly enjoyed my time as the Minister and want to thank all of the organizations I have had the privilege to work with. The work they do to help new comers in Alberta and the work of all our employers throughout the province is to be commended, especially as we navigate through a global pandemic.

It is now an honour to be the Minister of Health. I want to thank my colleague, the Honourable Tyler Shandro for the work he did throughout the pandemic. Leading any department is a challenge, let alone one that is the focus of getting through a global pandemic. 

Calgary-Varsity is home to both the Foothills Campus and the Children’s Hospital and home to a lot of doctors and nurses whom I have had the opportunity to talk with over the last few years. I want to thank all of our health care professionals for the work they continue to do as we navigate through the fourth wave. We can not do this without you. 

We are at a critical moment in COVID and I want to thank those who have been vaccinated. If you have not yet been vaccinated or are feeling hesitant about getting the vaccine please reach out and talk to a medical professional further.  
 Despite my new role I want you to know that I will continue to represent your interests in Edmonton. If you have questions, concerns or would like to chat, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office to schedule a phone call or in person meeting/coffee at calgary.varsity@assembly.ab.ca


COVID-19 Update

As the Health Minister I am committed to building immediate capacity to overcome the fourth wave and to shift how we manage COVID-19.

To do this I will focus on three key priorities:

1/ Increase baseline hospital capacity permanently
2/  Educate the vaccine hesitant population to get more eligible Albertans vaccinated
3/ Prepare the health care system to adequately respond to future waves 

In addition, Alberta’s government has requested assistance from the Federal government with patient transfers and critical care staff, should it be required. 

I understand this is a difficult and stressful time for many Albertans. We have overcome past COVID-19 waves and we will do so once again.

For the most up to date information on the restrictions please go to the Alberta websiteCOVID-19 vaccination records available at registries

Alberta’s government launched a convenient card-sized proof of vaccination that is available easily and quickly through alberta.ca/CovidRecords. Starting Sept. 21, and over the following days, Albertans will be able to visit a local registry agent to request a printed version of their vaccination card at no cost. They will need to provide the month and year of any dose of vaccination, their Alberta Personal Health Number and their date of birth.

A printed version of the card will make it easier for Albertans to show their vaccination status to businesses checking patrons for government-issued proof of vaccination under the Restrictions Exemption Program. Albertans seeking a printed version from a registry agent should contact their registry agent first to confirm the service is available.

More Albertans eligible for third vaccine

Our government has expanded eligibility for an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine to more immunocompromised Albertans to align with recent recommendations made by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization.

Individuals with advanced HIV infection, immunodeficiency syndromes and patients receiving high-dose systemic corticosteroids are among those now able to get an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

Immunocompromising conditions that qualify for an additional dose at least eight weeks after a second dose now include:

  • Recipients of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T-cell therapy.
  • Individuals with moderate to severe primary immunodeficiency (e.g., DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome).
  • Individuals with Stage 3 or advanced HIV infection and those with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.
  • Individuals undergoing immunosuppressive therapies (e.g., anti-B cell therapies, high-dose systemic corticosteroids, alkylating agents, antimetabolites, or tumor-necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors and other biologic agents).
  • Transplant recipients, including solid organ transplants and hematopoietic stem cell transplants.
  • Individuals with chronic kidney disease who are receiving regular dialysis.
  • Individuals in active cancer treatment (chemotherapy, immunotherapy or targeted therapies), excluding those receiving only hormonal therapy, radiation therapy or surgery.
  • Individuals on certain medications for autoimmune diseases, including rituximab, ocrelizumab and ofatumumab.

Third doses of COVID-19 vaccine are also available for seniors living in congregate care. These individuals are at the highest risk of severe outcomes and potential spread within congregate living sites.

A complete two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series provides strong protection against severe illness and hospitalization due to COVID-19 in the general population. Having as many Albertans as possible immunized against COVID-19 is the best thing all of us can do to protect those who are immunocompromised or vulnerable to severe outcomes.

Eligible Albertans can book appointments online for AHS or participating pharmacies by using the one-stop booking system at alberta.ca/vaccine. Albertans can also book an appointment by calling 811 or participating pharmacies.

For schedule and locations, visit ahs.ca/vaccine. Third doses can also be accessed at participating physicians’ offices.

Government update

Alberta funding new cystic fibrosis drug

Alberta is among the first provinces and territories in Canada to provide access to the new cystic fibrosis drug Trikafta. Trikafta is used to treat the most common form of cystic fibrosis, which affects about 90 per cent of those living with the disease. The medication is approved for those 12 years and older who meet eligibility criteria.

We know that having access to this new medication is extremely important to Albertans living with cystic fibrosis and they are eagerly anticipating its availability. With that in mind, Alberta’s government streamlined its processes so this prescription drug could be provided to them sooner. We are pleased to provide Albertans with access to new, innovative medications when there is evidence to support their effectiveness and improved health outcomes.For more information go to https://www.alberta.ca/release.cfm?xID=79875F6FF1585-B85A-B19F-EE842EFEE8682C2E

Parkdale Pet FestI want to thank the Parkdale Community Association for putting on the fourth annual Pet Fest back on September 11th. I had a booth set up at the event and was amazed to see so many pet owners show up and be a part of such an amazing community event. Thank you to all the volunteers for a successful event and can’t wait for next year.

Banff Trail AGMLast Saturday I attended Banff Trail’s AGM and Harvest Fest. Thank you to all the board members for putting your name forward to serve the community and to all of the volunteers who make our communities a better place to call home. 

I want your feedback.  Please take a moment to answer the following question.

Earlier this week I announced three priorities to help overcome the fourth wave (see COVID update above). Do you feel these priorities will help manage the fourth wave of COVID?

a/ yes
b/ no
c/ not sure

To answer please go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/D8F7PL8

Thank you to those who took the time to answer the last survey question:
The government has announced measures to flatten the curve and increase hospital capacity to address COVID 19.  In your opinion do these measures:

a/ go too far   8.33%
b/ strike the right balance  12.5%
c/ don’t go far enough  79.17%
d/ no opinion

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