Alberta expands COVID-19 vaccine booster eligibility to all adults in stages

EDMONTON –

Alberta will begin to administer COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to all adults in phases, the province announced Wednesday afternoon when it reported two more Omicron cases.

Albertans 60 years of age and older will be eligible for third doses starting on Monday, Dec. 6.

Booster shots will be administered to people who had their second dose at least six months ago.

“We’re offering third doses to older people first, as we did with first and second doses, because older people are at increased risk of severe outcomes for COVID-19,” Health Minister Jason Copping said.

“The current evidence supports expanding booster doses to add an additional layer of protection,” Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw added.

Currently, third doses are available for people who are immunocompromised, 70 years of age or older, residents of seniors’ supportive living, health-care workers, and First Nations, Metis and Inuit.

Appointments for the 60+ group open on Thursday online.

“We anticipate that bookings for all adults aged 18 and over will be open by early next year but the exact timing will depend on the volume of appointments booked and the availability of vaccine supply.”

Nearly 400,000 Albertans have received a third COVID-19 vaccine dose.

MORE OMICRON CASES

Alberta identified two more cases of the Omicron variant increasing the total to three, Hinshaw said.

The positive tests are in a returning traveller from South Africa and the Netherlands and a household contact.

The two people have mild symptoms and are isolating at home, Hinshaw said.

Also Wednesday, the province reported that an Albertan in their 20s has died due to COVID-19 for a second straight day. 

The death is the 18th in a person under 30. A total of 3,255 Albertans have died due to COVID-19. 

The province also reported 430 new cases Wednesday, the first time it’s recorded more than 400 new cases since last Wednesday.

There are now 424 COVID-19 patients in Alberta hospitals, including 79 in intensive care units.

Last week, the first doses of vaccine were administered to young Albertans between the ages of five and 11 years old.

More than three-quarters of all Albertans, 76.3 per cent, have had at least a first dose of vaccine. And, 71.5 per cent of the entire population have had a second shot.

More than 378,000 additional doses have also been administered, and over 391,000 children aged between five and 11 have now had a first shot.

On Monday, the province adjusted its population counts for ages and geographic regions, meaning vaccination percentages decreased then before rising yesterday and Wednesday.

Unvaccinated Albertans remain significantly more likely to suffer a severe outcome after contracting COVID-19, including hospitalization or death.

Alberta’s next data update is scheduled for Thursday afternoon. 

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