Alberta to release details on second dose vaccine appointments next week
CALGARY -- Alberta’s top doctor plans to announce details on the province’s plan to administer second doses next week, including the possibility of reducing the wait time between shots.
“We are looking closely at our available supplies and shipments and we expect to be in a position soon to shorten the wait time between first and second doses we will outline how this rollout will occur as early as next week,” said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health.
Hinshaw said one additional group has been added to the list to receive a second dose early. Anyone on regular dialysis treatment for kidney disease is now able to sign up for a shot 21 to 28 days after their first.
During Thursday’s COVID-19 update, Premier Jason Kenney defended his government’s plan to base it’s summer re-opening plan on hospitalization rates going down and the uptake in first dose appointments.
“We have twice as large a percentage of our population who have received the second dose verses the national average across Canada, so we’ve got a bit of a head start which is good news,” he said.
So far 9.5 per cent of eligible Albertans have received two doses. Almost 1.9 million people are waiting to sign up for a second dose.
The province plans to lift the majority of public health restrictions by early July if 70 per cent of Albertans have received their first shot.
“We should start opening up but our timeframe is far too fast and we’re using the same lagging indicators that got us in trouble int he previous second two waves. So the plan is flawed,” said Dr. Darren Markland, nephrologist and intensive care physician at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton.
Markland said more people should receive both doses before restrictions ease since highly contagious variants are circulating.
“The ongoing message has been we have solutions, we now have vaccines, what’s the rush?”
Markland said a single dose won’t stop the virus from spreading and immunized people are still getting sick.
“One of the side effects of this opening strategy is that people are going to be desperate to cram everything in their summer and so we’re going to see a lot of contact. We’re going to see a lot of mixing. We’re going to see partial immunity out there, people with one vaccine are not completely protected.”
First dose appointments are still being filled in the coming weeks.