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Editorial: Team effort at Cargill

opinion editorial stock

There is a collective sigh of relief from workers at a meat plant 22km to south of Okotoks. 

Premier Jason Kenney and Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced on April 26 employees working at meat plants are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccines - including the approximately 2,000 workers at the Cargill facility just north of High River. 

Cargill workers, several of whom live in the Okotoks and High River communities, will roll up their sleeves at the plant beginning Thursday -- barring any sudden disruption. 

The announcement came eight days after the workers got a collective punch in the gut when they were expected to have vaccines starting April 22, only to have the Province postpone due to a lack of vaccines. The need for vaccines for workers is clear.  Cargill was hit with an outbreak which resulted in more than 900 workers testing positive for COVID approximately one year ago today.  There were three deaths linked to the outbreak. 

The vaccinations at Cargill are the first at a major work facility in Alberta and it appears Ontario may soon be following suit. 

In hindsight the question might be "what took so long?''

However, it is reason for celebration.

It was a collective effort to make the Cargill clinic a reality by doctors -- many from the Foothills area -- Cargill management and health workers, the Calgary Rural Primary Network as well as Alberta Health Services.

High River Dr. Adam Vyse, one of the drivers of the clinic, said it may serve as a model for future clinics in Canada. 

More vaccines seem to be rolling into Canada it seems weekly now -- and they are much needed, as active cases are high in Canada, including 224 in Okotoks on April 26.

Any efforts to get more vaccinations, as is happening at Cargill, is a positive shot in the arm for the province.