Recently moved to Alberta? You need to get your COVID-19 vaccination at an AHS site

EDMONTON — A woman who recently moved to Edmonton says she was denied her COVID-19 immunization despite provincial guidelines allowing non-residents to be eligible for vaccination.

After living in Toronto for six years, Nicole Thorsley moved back to Edmonton because she wanted to be closer to family.

She told CTV News Edmonton that she applied for a new Alberta Health card and was told by officials that she would be covered by Ontario Health until July.

Thorsley said she was worried this would affect her vaccine eligibility.

“On the (Alberta Health Services) website it says you do not need an Alberta Health card to get the COVID vaccine,” Thorsley said.

The website say anyone living, working, or going to school in Alberta can get the COVID-19 vaccine so long as they are born in 2009 or earlier.

“An Alberta Health care card is not required in order to get the vaccine,” the website reads.

Thorsley looked for a pharmacy to make an appointment.

“Some of them, if you didn’t have an Alberta Health card they wouldn’t even let you book online, however, some of them did,” she said.

When Thorsley arrived at the Jasper Pharmacy, instead of an injection she faced rejection.

“They said, ‘We can’t give you the vaccine,’ and Ifelt that’s ridiculous,” Thorsley recounted. “We’re in the middle of a pandemic.”

In an email to CTV News Edmonton, the head of the Alberta Pharmacists’ Association said pharmacists are limited to offering vaccines to Alberta Health care card holders.

The reason stems from pharmacists being unable to issue a universal lifetime identifier to show that a person has received an immunization on their digital health records.

AHS has that ability.

“There’s so much confusion around the whole thing and I feel like nothing’s really transparent,” Thorsley said. “I feel like nothing’s really transparent. Nobody knows what’s going on.”

Thorsley said she eventually did get her dose but all the confusion surrounding vaccination eligibility could have been solved if AHS had put on their website that if you are a non-resident that you can only get the shot at an AHS immunization clinic.

“I took somebody else’s spot and a lot of places are not booking until June or even later in June.

“All AHS needs is on their website is if you don’t have an Alberta Health card you can’t book (your vaccine) at a pharmacy,” she said. “That’s all they need to do.”

Alberta Health has not responded to CTV News Edmonton’s requests for comment.

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