No expansion of AstraZeneca vaccine eligibility in Alberta yet, health minister says

Alberta recorded 1,690 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, punctuating a week that saw confirmed infections rival the heights of the second wave.

The number of people in hospital increased to 549, an jump of 31 over the previous day. Of those patients, 125 were in the intensive care unit. 

Alberta identified another 1,184 variant cases. Of the province’s 19,446 active cases, just over 60 per cent are variants. 

The test positivity rate dropped below 10 per cent for the first time this week, registering at 9.65 per cent on 17,562 tests completed Thursday.  

Here’s a breakdown of active cases by health zone:

  • Calgary zone: 8,397
  • Edmonton zone: 5,307
  • North zone: 2,714
  • Central zone: 2,035
  • South zone: 954
  • Unknown: 39

An additional 44,550 doses of vaccine were administered yesterday, as the province topped 1.3 million doses.

AstraZeneca eligibility

As supply dwindles and with no future shipments scheduled, Alberta’s health minister says the province will continue to limit Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine appointments to people 40 and older. 

Tyler Shandro made the announcement in a tweet Friday after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization updated its recommendation to say the vaccine should be offered to people over 30. 

The advisory committee recommended in March pausing its distribution to anyone under the age of 55, a precautionary measure in response to rare cases of vaccine-induced blood clots. But Alberta opened up the eligibility to anyone over 40 on Tuesday on the heels of the release of Health Canada’s safety review. 

Shandro said there are over 100,000 appointments booked in the next two weeks for the roughly 112,000 doses left at pharmacies and vaccination sites.

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