Alberta moves to Phase 1B of vaccine rollout plan

CALGARY — Alberta is moving to Phase 1B of its vaccine rollout plan meaning, as of Feb. 24, all seniors aged 75 and older, as well as all First Nations and Metis aged 65 and older, will be eligible.

All residents in retirement centres, lodges, supportive living and other congregate living facilities with residents who are aged 75 and older are eligible as of Feb. 19.

Premier Jason Kenney made the announcement Friday, adding there will be online and telephone options to make bookings and that bookings will be based on vaccine availability.

As of Feb. 17 Kenney said 155,532 doses of vaccine have been delivered in Alberta. That includes 96,858 people who have received a first dose and 58,674 people who have now received both required doses.

“This is an exciting day for these Albertans and the thousands of family members and friends who love them. We are starting with those most at-risk and moving quickly to provide the protection that they deserve,” he said. 

The province will receive 46,800 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine by the weekend, Alberta Health told CTV News.

Phase 2 of the vaccine rollout plan is expected to begin in April, which wil be done in four groups, A, B, C and D, covering 1.8 million Albertans.

Group A will include Albertans aged 65-74 along with First Nations and Metis aged 50-64, and all staff and residents of licenced supportive living facilities not covered in Phase 1.

Group B will be Albertans aged 18-64 who have underlying health conditions.

“Our health officials are currently working to define exactly which underlying condition this will apply (to) and in what priority and we will announce those conditions and priorities prior to Group B vaccination starting.” said Kenney.

Group C will be all staff and residents of congregate living facilities, like jails and homeless shelters, and group homes for those living with disabilities.

Group D will be Albertans aged 50-64 and First Nations and Metis aged 35-49.

The third and fourth phases of the rollout will follow.

“I know that there are some folks who will be disappointed to hear that they must wait until Phase 3 before they are eligible for a vaccination, and workers who must interact with people every day because of their jobs —like teachers, transit workers and those hard-working Albertans who’ve kept our essential services like grocery stores open since Day 1 of this pandemc — well they may wonder why these are not in Phase 2,” said Kenney.

“I understand that question and I know that everyone wants to return to normal and be safe and be protected from the virus. But with a limited amount of vaccines, we must make difficult choices to ensure that those people who are most at risk are protect first, following the data and scientific advice.”

Kenney said the province has a target of administering more than 200,000 vaccines per week by the end of March, “as we bring on community partners through the pharmacies and we set up large vaccination depots and centres around the province.”

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