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Alberta has more COVID-19 vaccine appointments booked than doses available, but future shipments are expected to fill this gap, Premier Jason Kenney said on Friday.
Speaking at an independent press conference, Kenney said strong demand for nominations Thursday, the first day people born between 1982 and 1991 could book time slots, exceeded government expectations.
About 142,000 reservations were made through the Alberta Health Services (AHS) online booking tool and 811 on Thursday, AHS spokesperson Kerry Williamson said in an email. This figure does not take into account reservations at pharmacies. More than 12,000 appointments had been booked through AHS as of noon Friday, spokesman James Wood said in an email.
Kenney said the province has higher demand in Calgary than in other health zones.
“Alberta Health Services will readjust their distribution of supply to match demand where it is. We don’t want to turn anyone away, obviously, ”Kenney said.
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Alberta is expected to receive 236,340 doses of Pfizer and 116,700 doses of Moderna next week, according to federal projections. Similar amounts of each are expected the following week.
Longer-term federal projections show the province can expect to receive a steady supply from Pfizer until early July. Information beyond the week of May 17 is not available for Moderna.
All Albertans 12 years of age or older will be able to book appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine starting Monday at 8 a.m., when those born between 1992 and 2009 become eligible.
Kenney stressed that all Albertans should be vaccinated as soon as possible.
The province administered nearly 1.8 million doses on Thursday, allowing 33.1% of the population to receive at least one injection.
Kenney also announced that about 2,000 Alberta truckers are now eligible for a vaccine when they deliver goods to Montana under an agreement to maintain a cross-border flow of materials during the pandemic.
The U.S. state will provide the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to drivers at a rest area in Conrad, about 80 km south of the Alberta-Montana border.
Kenney said about 800 trucks pass through Montana each day. He also urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to pressure US officials to lift the ban on sending surplus vaccines to Canada.
Meanwhile, Alberta reported 1,980 new infections on Friday, bringing the total number of active cases to 24,850. The province continues to have the highest per capita activity rate in Canada, at 554 per 100,000. inhabitants. There have been four other deaths linked to the virus. The number of people hospitalized is 659, including 150 in intensive care.
The worrisome variants account for 53 percent of all active cases in the province, down about 10 percent from the start of the week.
– With files from the Canadian Press