Alberta will receive 63,000 fewer vaccine doses by the end of March than were promised by the federal government, the province’s health minister said Thursday.
“For the third time this month, the federal government has notified us through bureaucratic channels that Alberta’s Pfizer vaccine allocation will be slashed yet again,” Health Minister Tyler Shandro said in a news release.
Earlier this month, the province was told its share of vaccines would be reduced between 20 and 80 per cent over four weeks, Shandro said.
“Shortly after that, we found out that Alberta would actually receive no vaccines at all in the last week of January.”
The federal government assured the province that it would still receive the full promised allotment of 468,000 doses in the first quarter.
Now Alberta is learning that won’t happen, he said.
“This is a grim situation that seems to be getting worse every week,” Shandro said. “We know that life for Canadians will not begin returning to something resembling normal until our most vulnerable are immunized.”
As of Wednesday, 101,123 Albertans have been vaccinated, with about 11,000 of them having received the required second dose.
On Thursday afternoon, Premier Jason Kenney and Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw will update Albertans on the province’s plan for vaccine and address other issues concerning the spread of COVID-19.
The news conference is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. MT. You can watch it live here.
On Wednesday, Alberta reported there were 604 people in hospital with COVID-19, including 110 patients in intensive care. There were 12 new deaths, bringing that total to 1,599.
The number of active cases in the province has dropped to 8,203.
Recent COVID-19 updates have seen Hinshaw cautioning Albertans about the presence of new, more transmissible, coronavirus variants in the province.
Alberta has detected 20 cases of the variant first identified in the United Kingdom and five cases of a variant first seen in South Africa.
One of the U.K. cases has not been linked to travel, prompting concerns around the possibility of community spread.
On Wednesday, Hinshaw said officials have yet to pin down the origin of that one case but assured Albertans that “very limited household spread” resulted from it.