Walk-in AstraZeneca vaccinations end at Telus Convention Centre

The Telus Convention Centre in Calgary is no longer taking walk-in appointments for the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, Alberta Health Services said early Friday — but eligible Albertans can still book appointments and the eight other walk-in AHS sites in the province remain open.

AstraZeneca vaccination efforts gained enormous traction Tuesday, when Alberta lowered the age from 56 to 64 to include all eligible people ages 40 to 55 on Tuesday.

Mass AstraZeneca vaccination clinics that had previously seen many appointments go unused where overwhelmed, especially in Calgary, as many gen-Xers eagerly queued for their shots and celebrated by posting vaccination selfies.

AHS tweeted Thursday night to say that, because of overwhelming uptake and finite supplies of AstraZeneca, it would no longer be taking walk-in appointments at the Telus site as after Friday.

Ten minutes after the site opened at 9 a.m., AHS gave an update saying it had reached capacity that day for walk-ins and vaccinations would only be available there through scheduled appointments in future.

Eligible Albertans wanting an AstraZeneca shot can book through the AHS online booking tool and through Health Link 811. Many pharmacies are also taking bookings and some are taking walk-ins, although some haven’t received the vaccine.

Walk-in AstraZeneca vaccinations are still available at eight other sites in the province, in Brooks, Camrose, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Red Deer.

Calgary has been struggling with a huge surge in active COVID-19 cases, with about 43 per cent of the provincial total — 8,380, according to Thursday’s provincial update (and 61,322 recovered).

AHS warned Thursday that, due to an increase in the number of Albertans in the Calgary zone requesting a COVID-19 test, it could well take three to five days from the time someone makes a request to when testing occurs.

Overall, Alberta reported 1,857 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday— with a testing positivity rate of 10.7 per cent — as the province continues to record case counts in the range seen last December, during the height of the pandemic’s second wave.

The more dangerous and highly transmissible variant cases continue to surge and are now the dominant strains of the virus in Alberta, accounting for 60 per cent of total active cases.

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