Alberta to lower minimum age for AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine from 55 to 40

Premier Jason Kenney said Alberta will now be administering AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines to people age 40 and over.

The premier made the announcement Sunday evening via social media.

This decision is based on growing scientific knowledge about the vaccine and is based on Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health’s advice,” Kenney tweeted. “Details will follow tomorrow (Monday) morning and bookings will open for Tuesday.”

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The province’s move comes after Canada’s federal health minister, Patty Hajdu, said provinces and territories were “free to use” AstraZeneca’s vaccine on any groups aged 18 and above, despite the country’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommendation to not give the vaccine to those under 55.

READ MORE: Alberta reports first AstraZeneca-linked blood clot

The NACI first recommended the vaccine to not be given to those below 55 in late March, citing concerns over reports of blood clotting then.

While this has heightened hesitancy towards the vaccine, experts have since pointed to female birth control and smoking as being more likely to induce blood clotting.

Click to play video: 'Eligible Albertans encouraged to receive AstraZeneca vaccine' Eligible Albertans encouraged to receive AstraZeneca vaccine

Eligible Albertans encouraged to receive AstraZeneca vaccine

Both the European Medical Association and Health Canada have both maintained that the benefits of using AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine outweigh any of the risks.

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“Reports of blood clots with low platelets in people vaccinated with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine are very rare,” the Public Health Agency of Canada previously told Global News in a statement.

READ MORE: Alberta confirms 1,516 new COVID-19 cases, 3 more deaths on Sunday

Two walk-in clinics opened on Saturday in Alberta, one in Calgary and one in Edmonton, which offer the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. The clinics are located at Calgary’s Southport Clinic and at the Edmonton Expo Centre.

Alberta Health said as of Friday, Alberta had received 270,800 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine and had administered about 98,000 doses with about 171,000 doses remaining.

— With files from Global News’  

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