Alberta’s chief medical officer of health is scheduled to provide an update on COVID-19 on Tuesday afternoon. Premier Jason Kenney will join Dr. Deena Hinshaw, to provide an update on the province’s rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is now available for all Albertans 40 and older.
Hinshaw and the premier are expected to speak at 3:30 p.m. The news conference will be streamed live in this story post.
The update comes on the first day Albertans who were born in 1981 or earlier are eligible to book an appointment to receive the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. The province announced Sunday evening it was dropping the eligibility age from 55 to 40 after input from public health officials.
Canada’s federal health minister Patty Hajdu said provinces and territories were “free to use” AstraZeneca’s vaccine on any groups aged 18 and above, despite the country’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommendation not to give the vaccine to those under 55.
NACI was expected to update its guidance on the AstraZeneca vaccine Tuesday morning, but the media availability was cancelled.
Albertans 40 and older were able to start booking their AstraZeneca vaccine appointments at 8 a.m. Tuesday.
Alberta Health Services said that as of 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, more than 27,000 Albertans had booked appointments. This includes about 6,500 appointments booked in the Edmonton zone and 15,000 in the Calgary zone.
“This is a higher uptake in one morning than over the entirety of last week, when eligibility was limited to Albertans aged 55 and over,” AHS spokesperson Kerry Williamson said.
“For context, 4,525 people received the AstraZeneca vaccine in Edmonton and 5,559 people received AstraZeneca in Calgary between April 12 and April 18.”
Health Minister Tyler Shandro took to Twitter to share a picture of himself receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine. Hinshaw also received her first dose of the vaccine on Tuesday.
The most recent numbers released Monday showed Alberta has administered 1,165,223 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, and 233,340 Albertans have been fully vaccinated with two doses.
Alberta recorded 1,391 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, as the province’s positivity rate hit 11 per cent.
Eligible Albertans can book an appointment for the AstraZeneca vaccine through the AHS online booking tool or by calling 811. Walk-in immunizations are also available at the Edmonton Expo Centre and Calgary’s Telus Convention Centre but AHS warns walk-in appointments are limited. AHS strongly encourages people to book an appointment.
Eligible Albertans can also book an immunization appointment at a participating pharmacy.
More information on who is eligible and how to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment can be found on the AHS website.
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