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More than 100,000 Albertans made appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, the first day of expanded eligibility, and Alberta’s top doctor said it was “very likely” that the interval of four months between doses will be reduced.
Albertans born between 1982 and 1991 became eligible to make appointments for their first injection on the Alberta Health Services (AHS) website, by calling 811 or participating pharmacies on Thursday. People born between 1992 and 2009 will be able to book from Monday at 8 am.
Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw, in her update Thursday, said she was extremely excited to see so many Albertans become eligible.
“I urge all Albertans to book as soon as they can,” she said. “At the same time, I also ask for your patience. On Monday, more than 3.8 million people will now be eligible. AHS and pharmacies are working diligently to schedule everyone, but it will take time to reserve all the first doses. “
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AHS spokesman Kerry Williamson confirmed in an email that 115,000 people had made an appointment as of Thursday afternoon. This number includes those who booked online and called 811 but not pharmacies.
He said he suspected the vast majority of bookings came from newly eligible people.
During the update, Hinshaw said the province is considering possibly shortening the period between doses, but that depends on a number of factors, including supply and ensuring that all eligible people get vaccinated.
“Once we finish offering all of these (eligible) people, of course we will move on to the second doses, so it’s very likely that the interval will be less than four months,” she said. . “I want to be clear that the four month interval has always been a maximum. We never planned to require a four month wait. We wouldn’t let anyone go beyond four months, so if we can offer it sooner, we will. “
Hinshaw said that for those who are severely immunocompromised, the province offers vaccines every 21 to 28 days.
Those undergoing cancer treatment, receiving a transplant, or taking strong immunosuppressive drugs may reserve their second dose of Moderna and Pfizer at this 21 to 28 day interval. The recommended interval for AstraZeneca is 12 weeks.
More than 1.7 million doses were administered on Wednesday.
At the City Council Emergency Advisory Committee meeting, Edmonton City Manager Andre Corbould said about 33% of the city had received its first vaccine and more than 100,000 had been fully vaccinated. He said 30,000 doses of AstraZeneca had been administered at the Edmonton Expo Center on April 30.
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“Vaccinations at the Expo will be suspended and restarted over the next few weeks, depending on vaccine supply and the Expo is currently only open for appointments,” Corbould said. “We anticipate that we will be shutting down the facility for a few days, maybe a few weeks. Everything is supply based, and I can guarantee that if the supply is there we use it at the Exhibition Center, but if there is no supply we will not run the facility .
The province reported 2,211 new infections on Thursday, bringing the total number of active cases to 24,497. No new deaths have been reported. There are 654 people in the hospital, including 146 in intensive care.
The various worrying cases represent 55.3% of infections.
Earlier this week, the province announced new restrictions to curb the rise in cases.
As part of the new public health measures, K-12 students will switch to online learning for two weeks starting Friday. Unlike last spring, all daycares will remain open. Patios and personal services such as lounges must close at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Jerrica Goodwin, press secretary to Prime Minister Jason Kenney, said in an email that the premier of Alberta spoke with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday.
“Premier Kenney has stated that while federal assistance is not currently required in Alberta, he expressed his gratitude for the Premier’s offer and said that Alberta would hold hands should such assistance become necessary in the future, ”she said. “Kenney also asked the Premier for the federal government’s cooperation in Alberta’s efforts to procure COVID-19 vaccines from neighboring US states.
Trudeau also contacted Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi.
– With files from Dustin Cook.
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