Alberta's COVID-19 vaccine supply on brink of exhaustion, first dose appointments rescheduled
CALGARY -- Premier Jason Kenney says Alberta's ongoing effort to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to priority health-care workers and long-term care facilities has been hindered by supply concerns.
"By the end of today or early tomorrow, Albertans will have no more vaccine doses in storage to administer as first doses to Albertans," said Kenney.
In the midst of the first phase of the immunization push, Pfizer — one of the two current suppliers of vaccine to the province — announced last week that there would be delays in delivery of some scheduled shipments to Alberta.
"Even with a new shipment of Pfizer vaccines expected later this week, we won't have enough vaccine to continue with new first dose appointments," explained Kenney. "That is why first dose appointments, will not be scheduled until further notice.
"By pausing first appointments, we can ensure enough vaccine is allocated for committed second dose appointments."
The premier says second dose appointments will not be cancelled and he's confident they will be administered within the recommended timeframe.
Nearly 90,000 doses have been administered by Alberta Health Services since Dec. 15 and Kenney says Alberta's deployment has been consistently among the country's best. "It's great that we've been able to vaccinate so many but we have quite simply run out of supply."
"Alberta currently has the capacity to deliver 50,000 doses per week. In March, we expect to be able to administer about 200,000 doses per week. But we do not have the supply to match. Unfortunately, this means that the planned vaccination of First Nations and Métis individuals and seniors over age 75 has been put on hold."
Kenney's supply frustration announcement comes one day after the province launched the rollout of vaccines for a select at-risk group.
"Yesterday we completed the first dose of vaccination at all of Alberta's 357 long-term care and designated supported living facilities. This is a tremendous milestone and, I believe, makes Alberta the first province in country to complete the first dose vaccine rollout for this important and highly vulnerable population."