CALGARY -- The province is making it easier for younger Calgarians to get a COVID-19 vaccine, in an effort to increase immunization rates.

Two walk-in clinics opened Wednesday, at the Telus Convention Centre and Genesis Centre sites for the eligible population ages 12 to 17, and no appointment is needed. 

“We know that summer was always going to be a slower time for vaccines as people are going to be doing other things but we will continue to push as much as we can to get those numbers up,” said Alberta health minister Tylers Shandro. 

Youth born in 2004 to 2009 are eligible to receive their first dose of Pfizer followed by a second dose at least 28 days later.

According to Alberta Health, 74.8 per cent of eligible Albertans 12 and older have received one dose, as of July 19.

And 60.2 per cent of Albertans age 12 and older are fully vaccinated.

The second dose rate for the youngest eligible Albertans is behind other age groups.

Currently, 62 per cent of 12 to 14 year olds have their first dose, and 39.7 per cent have received their second dose. 

A total of 65 per cent of 15 to 19 year olds have one shot and 44.4 per cent of that age group is fully vaccinated. 

“We do know that we’re never going to get to 100 per cent. We know from our seasonal flue campaigns that we are doing better than we do typically with vaccinations in Alberta, we’re doing better than other countries are doing,” said Shandro.

Shandro says the province will continue to announce innovative ways to increase first and second doses.

He adds there is obvious vaccine hesitancy but public health officials want to target those who are undecided.

“It’s the folks in the grey area that haven’t had first or second doses yet that I think we can reach out to," he said.

Shandro says the province was focused on speed and volume but now want to make sure that access isn’t an issue for anyone and to educate the public on the safety and efficacy of vaccines. 

The walk-in clinics are open from July 21 to July 26 from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. 

The province says those attending the clinics are asked to bring parental consent, which can be downloaded from the Alberta Health Services (AHS) website