Vaccine advocates in Alberta are pushing for an expansion of the eligibility for booster doses in the province.
Alberta opened up third doses to those aged 60 and up on Dec. 6, but there are now concerns that uptake isn’t moving fast enough.
According to the most recent numbers from the province that were released Dec. 9, a total of 482,534 booster shots have been administered province-wide.
Albertans between 60 and 69 years old received 110,470 of the third doses and some proponents say there doesn’t seem to be a sense of urgency to ramp things up. To put that into perspective, 437,314 Albertans in that age range are fully vaccinated.
According to vaccine advocacy group VaxHunterAB, some pharmacies are seeing some appointment times go unbooked and critics say the province should open things up to additional age groups to reduce the potential for wasted doses.
Third shot booster eligibility in Alberta is currently limited to:
- Those aged 60 or older;
- All First Nations, Metis and Inuit adults;
- Anyone living in an assisted living facility; as well as,
- Anyone aged 12 or older who is immunocompromised.
Health Minister Jason Copping said earlier this month that the province hopes to open up third doses to everyone aged 18 and up early in the new year. When that happens will depend on supply, but the province has yet to update its timeline.
Approximately 85 per cent of Albertans aged 12 or up have had at least two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
With the potential for a fifth wave fuelled by the omicron variant, critics say opening booster shots to more people is vital.