2nd doses given to all in public continuing care ahead of Alberta COVID-19 vaccine update: Kenney

Alberta’s premier and health minister are scheduled to provide an update on COVID-19 vaccine distribution in the province Friday afternoon.

Jason Kenney and Tyler Shandro are scheduled to speak at 12:30 p.m. Their news conference will be streamed live in this story post.

As of Thursday, 155,500 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered in Alberta and 58,000 people had been fully immunized.

So far, Alberta’s vaccine rollout has include health-care workers in ICUs, ERs, COVID-19 units, medical and surgical units and operating rooms; respiratory therapists; staff in long-term care (LTC) and designated supportive living (DSL) facilities; all residents of LTC and DSL facilities; paramedics and emergency medical responders and home care workers.

Phase 1B includes other health-care workers; seniors over 75 (no matter where they live); and anyone over 65 living in a First Nations community or Metis Settlement.

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Click to play video '‘Premier made it clear we will be making those announcements soon’: Shandro responds to COVID-19 vaccine questions' ‘Premier made it clear we will be making those announcements soon’: Shandro responds to COVID-19 vaccine questions

‘Premier made it clear we will be making those announcements soon’: Shandro responds to COVID-19 vaccine questions

On Friday morning, during an interview with Danielle Smith, Kenney said Alberta has administered second doses of vaccine to all LTC and DSL facilities and will now move forward with everyone over 75 when supply comes. That will include the elderly in privately-operated facilities and congregate care, the premier said.

“We have seen significant reduction in long-term care infections, outbreaks and deaths from COVID-19 over the past six weeks or so,” Kenney said.

“We’re starting to see that population much safer thanks to the vaccine.”

Read more: Is Alberta ready for Phase 2 of COVID-19 vaccine rollout?

The province has been tight lipped about who will be in the next phase of the rollout plan, how the next vaccines will be administered or even when that information would be released.

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Click to play video 'Alberta health minister says province has capacity for COVID-19 vaccine rollout but faces shipment restrictions' Alberta health minister says province has capacity for COVID-19 vaccine rollout but faces shipment restrictions

Alberta health minister says province has capacity for COVID-19 vaccine rollout but faces shipment restrictions

When asked during Thursday’s COVID-19 update what the province had done to prepare for the rollout of Phase 2 or even Phase 3, Shandro didn’t provide many details, but said Alberta has the capacity to administer any vaccine received.

“If there was suddenly approval for a vaccine candidate that is currently awaiting approval from Health Canada and we received an unforeseen amount, we do have — and we have built up through the last couple of months — the ability for us to have that surge capacity as well and certain innovations,” he said.

“Rapid flow-through clinics is going to be one opportunity for us if we ever do need that surge capacity we will do that.”

Read more: Variants could bring ‘strong resurgence’ of COVID-19 if restrictions lifted, feds warn

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The province has said family doctors and pharmacists would be part of the larger vaccine plan as well, but hasn’t released any details yet.

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