Albertans will be able to start booking their appointments for a second dose of COVID-19 vaccine as early as Tuesday, as supply has steadily been increasing.
Premier Jason Kenney announced that for those vaccinated in March or earlier, booking for second dose appointments opened on June 1.
Big news on second doses in Alberta! 💉 + 💉
Every single Albertan who has received their first dose will be able to book their second by the end of June.
Details below: ⬇️ ⬇️ ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/kEtG2ZOfRL
— Jason Kenney (@jkenney) June 1, 2021
Albertans who got their first dose of vaccine in April can book their second starting June 14.
By the end of the month – June 28 – those who got their first shot in May can start booking their second dose appointments.
“Bookings for second doses will be sequenced in the order that first doses were administered to ensure that everyone receives them at significantly less than the maximum 16-week interval,” Kenney said.
“If there are no unexpected delays to shipments, we expect most everyone awaiting their second dose should have it by the end of summer.”
Kenney said the province will continue to prioritize first dose appointments to ensure those who haven’t gotten their initial shot but want one, can do so.
As of Tuesday, more than 2.8 million doses of vaccine had been given out in Alberta, with 63.4 per cent of those eligible having received at least one dose. Just over 10 per cent of people aged 12 and over had received two doses.
Tuesday marks the first day of Stage 1 the province’s “Open for Summer” reopening plan, meaning patios are open again, people can gather in groups of 10 outside, and personal wellness services can reopen, among other restriction relaxations.
Kenney said this expansion of the vaccine rollout is another part of why officials are “confident” the “Open for Summer” plan will work.
“While being fully vaccinated wasn’t defined as a public health trigger, it is a critical part to crushing COVID-19 in Alberta once and for all – it’s embedded in our plan for population protection, as, of course, is natural immunity.”
The premier said Alberta is on track to move into Stage 2 of the reopening on June 10, provided hospitalizations stay below 500 and continue to trend downward. That will see indoor dining return to restaurants, gyms and fitness centres reopening, and larger gatherings allowed outside.
Will Alberta mix second doses?
For Albertans who have received a first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine, Health Minister Tyler Shandro said Tuesday that the timeline for second doses would be shortened to a minimum of eight weeks.
Shandro said while AstraZeneca is still a good choice of vaccine, in light of new guidelines from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, those who received a first dose of that vaccine can choose to get a second dose of either AstraZeneca, or take an mRNA shot.
“Both choices are valid, and both will offer protection against COVID-19,” Dr. Deena Hinshaw said.
Hinshaw said the rate of rare blood clots associated with AstraZeneca vaccines are so far lower in patients who receive the second dose.
When it comes to those who have received a first dose of mRNA vaccine, Hinshaw said for the most part, the second dose will be the same as the first, the only exception being if there happened to be a supply interruption where either Pfizer or Moderna shots weren’t available.
When asked about whether officials were concerned there would be more shipment interruptions when it comes to receiving vaccines, Kenney said the procurement of doses is up to the federal government, which provides provinces with a schedule of anticipated shipments.
“We have found in the past two weeks that the weekly targets are being met, particularly when it comes to Pfizer, which has become the mainstay of our program,” he said.
Kenney said there have been intermittent issues with sourcing the Moderna vaccine, however, a large national shipment is expected in the next week.
Alberta is expecting to receive more than one million doses of vaccine to be delivered to the province in the next month, allowing for the immunization rollout to be expanded.
Alberta Health reported 209 new COVID-19 infections on Tuesday, bringing the province’s total active cases to 6,771. With 4,100 tests done in the last 24 hours, the province’s positivity rate was 5.1 per cent.
There were 438 people in hospital with COVID-19, with 127 of them being treated in ICUs.
One additional COVID-19-related death was reported by Alberta Health on Tuesday: a man in his 80s in the Edmonton zone. His case included comorbidities.
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