Alberta expanding COVID-19 vaccine rollout for second doses

The province announced Friday more than one million additional Albertans are now eligible or soon will be eligible to book an appointment for their second COVID-19 vaccine.

Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro said anyone who received their first Pfizer or Moderna dose in May can book their second dose immediately, and those who received an mRNA vaccine as their first dose in June can book their second appointment four weeks later.

“Thanks to the improved supply of the federal government, we’re now able to get second doses into arms even faster,” Shandro said.

Click to play video: 'Alberta hopes to speed up second doses thanks to stability and increase of COVID-19 vaccine supply' Alberta hopes to speed up second doses thanks to stability and increase of COVID-19 vaccine supply

Alberta hopes to speed up second doses thanks to stability and increase of COVID-19 vaccine supply

Shandro said those who received an AstraZeneca vaccine as their first dose should still wait at least eight weeks prior to getting their second vaccine.

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“I want to emphasize that’s not because of any concern about the AstraZeneca vaccine or because of supply or anything else, it’s because it works better if you give it a little longer between those doses,” he said.

READ MORE: Alberta public health measures to end on July 1

Those who received an AstraZeneca vaccine as their first dose have the option of getting an AstraZeneca or mRNA vaccine as their second dose.

Shandro said Friday’s announcement means an additional 1.1 million Albertans will be eligible to receive a second COVID-19 vaccine.

“Nobody is going to be left behind, and remember this latest news on second doses does not mean first doses are over,” he said. “You can still  get a first dose. It’s the right thing to do.”

Click to play video: 'Alberta on the verge of Stage 3 reopening as 1st dose vaccinations sit at 69.9%' Alberta on the verge of Stage 3 reopening as 1st dose vaccinations sit at 69.9%

Alberta on the verge of Stage 3 reopening as 1st dose vaccinations sit at 69.9%

Albertans who received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in April or earlier have already been eligible to get a second dose. As of June 16, 24.2 per cent of Albertans 12 and over were fully vaccinated (two doses), and on Friday, Premier Jason Kenney said 70.2 per cent of eligible Albertans had received at least one dose.

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READ MORE: Registration now open for Alberta’s 1st $1M COVID-19 vaccine lottery prize

In an effort to encourage Albertans to get vaccinated, Alberta launched the Open for Summer Lottery where vaccinated Albertans could enter to win various prizes including three separate $1-million prizes and travel prizes from Air Canada and WestJet.

On Friday, Shandro said those Albertans who received one or both doses outside of Alberta will be eligible to enter the lotteries.

“You are eligible,” he said.

Any Albertan 18 and older who has received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine can enter the province-wide lotteries to have the chance to win three separate $1 million prizes.

Shandro said registration for the first draw closes midnight on June 24.

“The first draw is just around the corner and two more draws for cash and other prizes will follow later this summer.”

Eligibility criteria are as follows:

  • You must reside in Alberta at the time of the draw
  • You must be 18 or older
  • You must provide proof of receiving your first dose of an approved vaccine

READ MORE: Alberta’s COVID-19 vaccine lottery now includes 40 travel-related prizes

On Wednesday, the province also announced Albertans who get fully vaccinated with two doses of COVID-19 vaccine will have the chance to win one of several travel-related prizes.

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The vacation packages will be included in the August lottery draw for people who receive two doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine. The draws are open to Albertans 18 and older who register online for the Open for Summer Lottery.

For the travel prizes, the province said Albertans need to have received both vaccine doses before registration closes at 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 24. Winners will be announced on Aug. 31.

Alberta Health Services is also offering a new online portal to enter out-of-province and out-of-country COVID-19 immunizations people have received to their health records.

AHS will review and verify the information before it becomes available on a person’s MyHealthRecords account in two to three weeks.

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