CALGARY -- The province says expanding the eligibility for COVID-19 vaccines has accelerated its immunization program and hundreds of thousands of Albertans will have received their first doses by Wednesday.

Officials say, if current supply expectations are met, half of Alberta's population will have had their initial injections by early June and two-thirds before July's arrival.

"To put it in perspective, it took Alberta 119 days to reach our first one million doses administered and, if we stay on target, it will have taken only 29 days to reach the second million," said Premier Jason Kenney during a media briefing on Tuesday.

"This is a big milestone for our province and I want to thank every Albertan who's done their part."

The effort appears to be gaining momentum as the province continues with its phased rollout.

The premier says more than 328,000 appointments are booked over the next week, which is roughly 10 per cent of the eligible population.

When the minimum age to qualify for a vaccine lowered to those turning 30 or older, 270,000 shots were administered.

Alberta is currently the only province to offer vaccines to all adolescents as young as age 12, and, when eligibility increased on Monday to include this age group, 190,000 appointments were booked.

Deaths attributed to COVID-19 are also becoming less frequent in Alberta. During the second wave, there was a daily average of 18 deaths (2.7 per cent of cases). In the first week of April, the daily average number of deaths dropped to three (fewer than one per cent of cases).

"I hope that this information stresses just how important it is for Albertans to continue to make the choice to get vaccinated," said Kenney. "As more of us make the choice to be vaccinated this circle of protection from severe outcomes will continue to grow."

As of Tuesday, 1,947,004 doses of vaccine have been administered in Alberta.


The originial version of this story indicated that two million first doses will have been administered in Alberta by the end of the week. The two million doses includes both first and second doses.