One Calgary area is bucking provincial trends for vaccination rates with a whopping 99 per cent of residents vaccinated.
Calgary's upper northeast zone has 99 per cent of eligible residents vaccinated with at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to figures from Alberta Health Services. Residents of that area between the ages of 60 and 74 are 100 per cent vaccinated with at least one dose.
Provincially, of those eligible — people older than 12 years old — 88 per cent have one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 82 per cent of eligible people are fully vaccinated.
Watch: Lessons from a second wave, and how northeast Calgary proved people wrong
At the end of 2020, Calgary's northeast faced high rates of COVID-19 and a lack of vaccine uptake.
Dr. Annalee Coakley, physician lead at Mosaic Refugee Health Clinic, said based on experience with her own patients, low vaccine uptake in the area wasn't linked to vaccine hesitancy. She says it had to do with low digital literacy, which hindered the ability to book the vaccine online, language barriers and lack of accessibility to essential workers with young families.
Over the summer there was a mass vaccination clinic at Village Square Leisure Centre, which had volunteers and workers speaking 72 different languages, transportation options, extended hours for those who do shift work and a barrier-free approach — meaning those without health cards could participate in the clinic. There were also mobile clinics in the area through the summer and into the fall.
"Village Square proved the model…when you remove barriers, people will access the vaccine," Coakley said.
Anila Lee Yuen, president and CEO at the Centre for Newcomers, said 254 organizations worked together to support the vaccination effort through clinics and outreach in Calgary.
Lee Yuen said the model could be replicated to boost vaccination rates in rural Alberta, where many communities are under 60 per cent vaccinated.
Edmonton neighbourhood at 95 per cent vaccination
The area in the province with the second highest amount of people vaccinated is in Edmonton. West Jasper Place and nearby neighbourhoods are 95 per cent vaccinated with the first dose among those eligible.
There are five other areas with vaccination rates in the province higher than 90 per cent.
Lower northwest zone, Calgary: 93 per cent of those eligible have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Sherwood Park zone, Edmonton: 93 per cent of those eligible have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Twin Brooks and nearby areas, Edmonton: 92 per cent of those eligible have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
St. Albert zone, Alberta: 92 per cent of those eligible have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Centre West, Calgary: 91 per cent of those eligible have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.