Vaccine Sequencing for Healthcare Workers

COVID-19

Last Updated: April 10, 2021

Updates and information about the COVID-19 pandemic change daily, and we understand you require the most current information as possible. To help navigate these challenging times, we’ve put together this COVID-19 Vaccine Sequencing FAQ to help address some of the current questions staff might have about the COVID-19 vaccine. Please feel free to print and share as you see fit.

Frequently Asked Questions

Phase 2C Eligibility|Booking an Appointment|Proof of Employment Letter

Phase 2C Eligibility

Q: Who is currently eligible in Phase 2C?

A: A broad group of healthcare workers is currently eligible for COVID-19 immunization in Phase 2C, and more groups will be available in the coming weeks.

Starting Monday, April 12 at 8 a.m., healthcare workers in patient care facilities or who provide services directly to clients in the community will be eligible to book a COVID-19 immunization appointment. This includes students undertaking placement practicums in clinical areas, volunteers, and contracted providers for Alberta Health Services, Covenant Health, Alberta Precision Labs, DynaLife.

For a more detailed breakdown of those eligible beginning April 12, please visit alberta.ca/covid.

Offering immunization to this new eligible group will provide protection to patients and clients accessing care across the healthcare system, reducing the risk of healthcare workers becoming infected or spreading the virus to others.

Due to limited vaccine supply, all other groups in Phase 2C will become eligible in the coming weeks. More information will be provided as it becomes available.

Q: Who is currently not eligible in Phase 2C?

A: Albertans eligible for vaccinations in later stages of Phase 2C include:

  • Residents and support staff at eligible congregate living and work settings at risk for large outbreaks, including: correctional facilities, front-line policing and provincial sheriffs, homeless shelters, meatpacking plants, and group homes for disability, mental health and other types of licensed supportive living.
  • Caregivers of Albertans who are most at risk of severe outcomes:
    • All designated family/support people of those individuals in long term care, designated supportive living and licensed supportive living facilities.
    • Up to 2 caregivers for children under 16 who have an eligible chronic condition but are unable to receive vaccine due to age.

Q: Who is considered a healthcare worker?

For the purposes of vaccine sequencing and rollout for Phase 2C starting April 12, any AHS, Covenant, Alberta Precision Labs and DynaLife staff member, based out of a patient care facility, regardless of job title, will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Phase 2C.

This includes students undertaking placement practicums in clinical areas, volunteers, and contracted providers for Alberta Health Services, Covenant Health, Alberta Precision Labs, DynaLife.

Q: What is a patient care facility?

A: A patient care facility is defined as a location where there are patients who are receiving health care. For AHS, Covenant, APL or DynaLife, this can include a patient or client’s home or other location where there are interactions with patients or clients on behalf of the organization.

Q: What is not considered a patient care facility?

A: These are locations that conduct administrative work only.

Q: I work out of a lab testing facility that does not provide patient care and I am not a regulated health professional. Am I eligible in Phase 2C?

A: Handling of patient specimens and lab samples is considered patient care, so these facilities would be considered patient care facilities and the workers in these facilities would be considered eligible for Phase 2C.

Q: I’m a healthcare worker working in an AHS corporate office. Am I eligible to receive the vaccine during Phase 2C?

A: No, you would not be eligible to receive the vaccine during this phase. Only healthcare workers working in patient care facilities or where patient care or client services are provided in the community are eligible in Phase 2C.

Q: I’m a healthcare worker who usually works out of a patient care facility, but I have been working from home for the past year. Am I eligible to receive the vaccine during Phase 2C?

A: If you will be returning to a patient care facility within the next month, or you are a worker that could be deployed to a patient care facility on short notice, then you are eligible for Phase 2C. If you can continue to work from home, then you would not be eligible as a healthcare worker at this time.

Q: Are volunteers working in patient care facilities eligible to receive the vaccine during Phase 2C?

A: Yes, volunteers based out of patient care facilities are eligible to receive the vaccine during Phase 2C.

Q: I work for a contracted provider in a patient care facility and/or I am a contracted provider who is hired by Alberta Health Services. Am I eligible for Phase 2C?

A: Yes. Those who work for a contracted provider in a patient care facility are eligible to receive the vaccine in Phase 2C. This includes people that are not AHS employees, but work in healthcare facilities for contracted providers such as security, food services, housekeeping staff etc.

Q: I’m a healthcare worker at a patient care facility who is currently on leave. Will I be eligible to receive the vaccine during Phase 2C?

A: Not at this time. If you are returning to work within one month, you will be eligible for Phase 2C.

Q: I work out of a location that is administrative and does not have patient care occurring, but my role requires me to conduct direct patient care in the community. Am I eligible for Phase 2C?

A. Yes, any healthcare worker who provides direct patient or client care in the community is eligible for Phase 2C, regardless of where their base office is located.

Q: I work out of a location that has patient care areas adjacent to administrative/non-patient work areas. Am I eligible if I work out of the administrative/non-patient area of that location?

A. If the adjacent work areas are contained within the same building, then all healthcare workers at that location would be eligible for Phase 2C. If the administrative work area is in a distinctly different building, then the workers in that building would not be eligible in Phase 2C

Q: I am a worker who may occasionally work at a patient care facility, but this is not my regular place of work. Am I eligible for Phase 2C?

A. Yes, if you spend any time working in a patient care facility, you are eligible for immunization.

Q: If I am beginning a student or instructor placement in the future in a patient care facility, am I eligible for Phase 2C?

A. If you will be beginning your placement at a patient care facility within the next month, then you are eligible for Phase 2C.

Q: If I am a healthcare worker who has an underlying health condition, am I eligible to book in Phase 2B?

A. Any Albertan with an underlying health condition as per the Alberta Health list, is eligible to book in Phase 2B.

If you work in a patient care facility, you are also eligible to book beginning April 12, as a part of Phase 2C.

Q: Why am I not eligible to receive the vaccine right now? I think I should be.

A: We understand there are many people anxiously waiting to receive the vaccine, and we greatly appreciate the vital work you do.

We are working diligently to immunize as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, with available vaccine supply. This is happening in phases so people most at risk get it first.

Sequencing decisions should not be interpreted as a value judgement on the role of any particular healthcare worker or physician group, but rather decisions were made by applying the principles set by Alberta Health during a time of limited vaccine supply.

We want to assure you that no one has been forgotten and we continue to work with Alberta Health on the details related to future sequencing and eligibility. We will continue to share this information as it becomes available.

Booking an Appointment

Q: Will I be getting an email invitation to the online booking system if I’m eligible in Phase 2C?

A: No. In Phase 2C, eligible workers will not be receiving an email invitation to book a COVID-19 immunization appointment. Individual invitations will not be required to book an appointment in this phase. Workers will have the option to book via the AHS online booking tool, or through a local pharmacy.

Q: Do all appointments need to be booked through AHS if I work for AHS?

A: No. Healthcare workers have the option to book via the AHS online booking tool, or through a participating pharmacy.

Q: Is there enough vaccine supply to provide everyone in this cohort an immunization?

A: We anticipate high demand for appointments and we ask everyone to be patient.

This cohort includes more than 240,000 eligible health care workers. We anticipate that incoming vaccine supplies over the next 3 - 4 weeks will allow all who are eligible to book appointments during this timeframe, if they want to receive the vaccine.

If you are unable to find an appointment, we ask that you please be patient. We expect additional appointments will open up over the following days and weeks as supply allows.

Regular updates will be made on the AHS website and we encourage everyone who would like to book an appointment to continue checking ahs.ca/covidvaccine to see if appointments are available in their zone through AHS and participating pharmacies.

Once a person becomes eligible, they remain eligible, and will be able to book as appointments become available.

We appreciate everyone’s patience as we continue to work to immunize as many Albertan’s as possible.

We know everyone is anxious to book appointments and get their immunization. This will happen, and is being guided by vaccine availability. We may not have enough for everyone right away, but we will continue to open up appointments as more supply is available.

Q: I tried to book an appointment and there were none available, what do I do?

A: Immunization appointments are limited by available supply and we may not have enough appointments for everyone that is eligible to book an appointment right away.

There may be spots at your local pharmacy. Visit ahs.ca/covidvaccine to view participating pharmacies.

If you are unable to find an appointment, please be patient. You can check the online tool at a later date. Every eligible health care worker will be able to book an appointment over the upcoming weeks.

Q: When will more appointments added?

A: Appointments are frequently adjusted and updated based on what we know about available supply.

Eligible Albertans are currently able to book appointments up to 21 days in advance, and a new day of appointments is typically added each night. Sometimes additional vaccine also becomes available through increased allocations from the manufacturers or through redistribution of vaccine supply from areas that have more to areas with less open appointments.

Q: Do I need ID and proof of employment to book my appointment?

A: Those eligible in Phase 2C will not need proof of employment to book their appointment.

However they will need to provide personal identification that contains a birth date and a proof of employment, such as professional registration or eligibility letter, when attending their appointments with Alberta Health Services or at community pharmacies.

Proof of Employment Letter

Q: I am eligible. How will I receive my proof of employment letter?

A: Proof of employment letters will be emailed in the coming days to eligible individuals including those who work and volunteer at patient care facilities for Alberta Health Services, Covenant Health, Alberta Precision Labs, DynaLife, and students undertaking placement practicums in clinical areas.

If you are eligible and have not received your letter by April 15, please speak with your manager. You will need to provide this letter at your immunization appointment.

Staff who work in community practices will be notified through their employer as well as their regulatory colleges or professional associations about their eligibility.

Physicians may provide identification that contains a birth date and their College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta identification. They will not be receiving an eligibility letter.

Q: What if I forget to bring my ID or proof of employment letter to my appointment?

A: You will need to provide ID at your immunization appointment.

If you unfortunately forget to bring your proof of employment to your appointment, each situation will be managed on a one-on-one basis.

We ask for your patience and kindness as we work to immunize as many Albertan’s as possible by following the Government’s phased immunization approach.

Q: Do I need to print the letter or can I share a screen shot or a copy of it on my phone?

A: Providing either a printed version or electronic proof of employment will be accepted.

Q: Where can I find more information and updates about the vaccine?

A: In addition to frequent COVID-19 updates sent to staff via email, we encourage you to visit the COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ and Staff FAQ, which are updated on a regular basis. Alberta Health has also developed a Q&A document for healthcare practitioners.

We have also launched email intake systems for sequencing related questions. Please be advised that email volumes are extremely high and responses may be delayed.