Albertans who received their first doses of COVID-19 vaccine in April can start booking their second shots immediately, Premier Jason Kenney announced Thursday.
The move accelerates the previous plan, which had been to open bookings next week for Albertans who had their first doses in April.
“This means an additional 650,000 Albertans can now start booking their second doses right now,” Kenney told a news conference Thursday.
“This is great news, not just for those who will be fully vaccinated sooner than they thought, but for everyone in the province who will benefit from widespread immunity. Every day we can get further ahead of schedule is another day closer to the end of the pandemic.”
Second-dose appointments can be booked through Alberta Health Services and participating pharmacies and physician clinics.
Albertans who received a first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine can book a second appointment for the same vaccine through AHS, by calling 811, or going to a participating phramcy listed on the Alberta Blue Cross website.
Alternately, Albertans who received a first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine can choose to have an mRNA vaccine as a second dose, through participating pharmacies or AHS.
Albertans vaccinated in May are currently scheduled to begin booking their second dose starting June 28. The province will continue to accelerate second doses if supply allows, it said in a news release.
Anyone who hasn’t received their first dose of vaccine are encouraged to book an appointment as soon as possible.
Kenney was joined by Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health.
On Thursday, the province stepped closer to a restriction-free summer when it moved into Stage 2 of the reopening plan.
Among the changes, restaurants can open for indoor dining. Entertainment venues — including malls, casinos and movie theatres — can reopen at one-third capacity. Private outdoor gatherings can include up to 20 people, and public outdoor events can host as many as 150.
Restrictions on youth and adult sport are also now lifted.
The third and final stage of reopening will begin two weeks after 70 per cent of eligible Albertans — those aged 12 and up — have at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
Kenney has previously said that Stage 3, which will lift all public health restrictions, is expected to happen in early July.