Health Minister Jason Copping said Wednesday afternoon that third doses will be offered in stages, starting with older Albertans.
Third doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will be offered first to Albertans 60 and over, starting Monday. Albertans in this age group can start scheduling their third dose starting Thursday.
Before receiving a third dose of the vaccine, eligible Albertans must wait until at least six months have passed since receiving their second dose, the health minister said.
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Booster doses are based on date of birth, Copping said, which means Albertans have to wait until they are 60 to book their appointments.
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Alberta Health Minister Announces Extension of 3rd Booster Dose of COVID-19 Vaccine
With the recall rollout being in stages based on age, Copping said he expects reservations for all Albertans 18 and over to be open by early next year. The timing of the rollout will depend on the use of the booster injections and the availability of the vaccine.
“With the winter season increasing the risk of transmission and more Albertans approaching the six-month milestone since receiving their second dose, the evidence supports increasing booster doses to add an extra layer of protection.” said Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr Deena Hinshaw.
“Vaccines continue to be our best protection against COVID-19, and I continue to encourage Albertans to reserve their first, second and third doses as soon as they are eligible.
“We will move through the age groups as quickly as possible as long as we have sufficient supplies. “
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Recalls will be available at 1,400 pharmacies across Alberta, AHS sites, select physician clinics and First Nations clinics.
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So far, COVID-19 vaccine booster shots are available for all Albertans 70 and over, as well as First Nations, Inuit and Métis people 18 and over. Immunocompromised people aged 12 and over with specific conditions, residents and assisted living facilities for the elderly, travelers to areas where mixed vaccine doses are not recognized, some healthcare workers and other adults who have received the AstraZeneca / Covishield or Janssen vaccine are also currently eligible for a third dose of the vaccine.
Earlier this month, Health Canada approved booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and Moderna vaccine for all adults 18 years of age and older. Both approvals indicated that six months would have to elapse between an individual receiving their second and third dose.
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Hinshaw said that when booster doses were first offered to people at increased risk of declining protection a month ago, there was no conclusive evidence to support the need for boosters for the population. general.
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Hinshaw said since then more evidence has emerged around the world and right here in Alberta.
“Protection against serious illness and hospitalization remains high even after two doses for most individuals,” Hinshaw said. “But those who are older and those with chronic illnesses are at greater risk of serious complications if they have a breakthrough infection. For this reason, and given that an increased risk of transmission during the winter months aligns with decreasing vaccine effectiveness against infection over time, current evidence supports increasing doses of reminder to add an extra layer of protection.
“We still have many people in our communities who have no protection, so offering third doses to more people will be an additional step to help strengthen the protection of the population and minimize the spread of COVID-19 throughout the world. ‘to come up. “
On Tuesday, the federal government asked the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) to quickly provide the latest guidance on the use of boosters, in the context of the worrisome new Omicron variant.
So far, NACI has recommended booster shots for the elderly, frontline healthcare workers, long-term care residents and other high-risk groups.
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Hinshaw said the extension of the booster is in line with the discretionary recommendation of the Alberta Immunization Advisory Committee that all Albertans 18 and older are offered a booster six months after their second dose.
To date in Alberta, 378,507 Albertans have received a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Copping said the definition of “fully vaccinated” in Alberta, where it applies to the restriction exemption program, will always be two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine or one dose of the Janssen vaccine.
Eligible Albertans can make an appointment for their third dose through the Alberta online vaccine reservation system, by calling 811, or at participating pharmacies.
2 more cases of Omicron variant identified in Wednesday’s COVID-19 data
Alberta identified 430 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. About 10,800 tests were done and the province’s positivity rate was 4.1%, Hinshaw said.
Alberta has 430 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday
Among the new cases, two were the omicron COVID-19 variant of concern. Hinshaw said those cases were identified in a returning traveler from South Africa and the Netherlands, as well as close contact.
Alberta identified its first case of Omicron on Tuesday.
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Hinshaw said the three people with the Omicron variant have mild symptoms and are recovering at home.
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Hospitalizations from COVID-19 are slowly declining, Hinshaw said, with 424 hospitalized with COVID-19 on Wednesday. Of these, 79 people were being treated in intensive care.
“It’s important to note that these numbers are still very high and that the current ICU COVID numbers are double the peak of the intensive care impact of an average flu season,” Hinshaw pointed out.
Seven more deaths have been reported in the past 24 hours.
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