Frustration as Edmonton cancer institute excluded from first phase of vaccine rollout, documents sho …


Documents show frustration at an Edmonton cancer centre due to its exclusion from Alberta’s first phase of vaccinations.

Memos obtained by CBC News detail the unsuccessful efforts from leadership at the Cross Cancer Institute to have Alberta Health Services make its health-care workers eligible for immunization during Phase 1. The treatment and research centre provides a range of services for cancer patients in Edmonton and throughout northern Alberta.

Dr. Charles Butts, the facility’s medical director, called an early February ruling by AHS against eligibility a “bad decision” in an internal email last week.

“I am sure that many of you will be as frustrated as I am with this decision,” he said in the email.

“It is taken from the perspective of acute care hospitals and ignores the critical nature of the CCI in delivery of cancer care for the northern half of the province.”

Patients at the institute are a vulnerable population, Butts said, in an earlier memo to AHS, and are immunocompromised due to their sickness and treatment. The institute provides acute care for the majority of cancer patients needing inpatient care for Edmonton and much of northern Alberta with 56 beds, he said.

“Given the critical nature of cancer care and the limited supply of trained oncology providers, all means to

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