26,000 Albertans got their 1st COVID vaccine in Jan

Maybe our perceptions aren’t quite accurate regarding how we view Albertans who are still unvaccinated.

I recently have become convinced that the majority of people who still haven’t received their first dose of COVID-19 aren’t anti-government conspiracy theorists who are convinced that the vaccines are tools for the government to control and track us.

I’ve been reading a few articles and listening to a few podcasts that were discussing the fact that there are multiple reasons for people to not get vaccinated.

For example, maybe someone is a single parent working two jobs and trying to take care of their children and is just exhausted at the end of the day.

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Or maybe someone lives in a community with no doctors to administer the vaccine and doesn’t want to inconvenience others to arranging for transportation to another community.

Or maybe someone belongs to a marginalized community that has historically being stigmatized and outright assaulted by they healthcare system.

Or maybe someone lives on the street and has no idea where to go or how to get there.

Or maybe someone has seen or heard messaging from friends or family that makes them hesitant, but they don’t have the literacy skills to fact check that information.

Or maybe someone who doesn’t speak English or French and doesn’t understand how to book a vaccination appointment.

And so on.

Earlier this week, I sent out this tweet.

And while I got some supportive feedback on it, there were some people who are adamantly convinced that in this scenario, most people would reject the vaccine.

Let’s look at some data.

There are 4,152,248 people in Alberta who are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Of those, 3,482,926 have received their first dose. That leaves 669,322 people who have yet to receive even just one dose. And if you leave out the 5–11-year-olds (who became eligible only in November), it’s 434,165 people.

Both numbers just seems to be too large for them all to be anti-government conspiracy theorists. Particularly if you consider how small the anti-lockdown protests have been in Alberta.

Plus, if it were the case that most of them were such people, we wouldn’t see an uptake in vaccination rates. So, I decided to look at the vaccination data for January so far to see what vaccination growth has looked like for the first week and a half or so of the month.

These numbers are based on the percentages reported on the Government of Alberta site. They may not be precise, given that the percentages are rounded up to the tenths place. And the website doesn’t provide absolute numbers.

As of 31 December 2021, about 3,457,093 people had received at least one dose of the vaccine. On 12 January 2022, the most recent data, about 3,482,926 had received it. That’s an increase of about 25,833 people.

Here’s how it breaks down by age group.

31 Dec 202111 Jan 2022Change
numbers might be off due to rounding

Children under 12 made up a small majority (53.0%) of the new vaccinations. The day before, it was 56.8%. Even then, people over the age of 12 who got their first vaccine still number in the thousands, coming in at about 12,133.

The largest adult group to get their first doses were those between 20 and 39 years old, which saw over 5,200 people vaccinated for the first time. That’s about 20.2% of all first time vaccinated people during this period.

That’s not all. Alberta saw over 12,500 people get their second dose during the first 12 days of 2022. Here’s the age group breakdown:

31 Dec 202111 Jan 2022Change
numbers might be off due to rounding

Again, the age group leading the increase was those between the ages of 20 and 39. At over 6,500 second doses, this age group made up 52.0% of all second doses during this period. Those between 40 and 59 came in second at 27.7%.

Combined, over 38,000 people got either their first or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine during the first 12 days of the year. And those numbers aren’t stopping.

I have no idea why they got them now and not, say, 6 months ago, but I think it’s safe to say that not everyone who’s still unvaccinated is because they’re an anti-government conspiracy theorist.

And maybe if we can find out why these people finally got vaccinated, it can help us reach others.

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By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent queer journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news articles, focusing on politics and labour.

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