Alberta Minister of Health Tyler Shandro addresses a news conference in Calgary on May 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Alberta may follow B.C.’s lead on faster rollout of first COVID-19 dose

EDMONTON — Alberta’s health minister says the province is considering whether to follow British Columbia in extending the time between COVID-19 vaccine doses.

Tyler Shandro says a committee of COVID-19 experts is analyzing emerging data and a decision is coming.

The B.C. government announced Monday that it will extend the wait between first and second doses to four months to get more people vaccinated overall in a shorter time period.

B.C. based its decision on data coming from the United Kingdom, Israel and Quebec that showst the first dose of vaccines is 90 per cent effective.

When Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech began distributing their vaccines late last year, it was recommended the first and second shots be completed within about six weeks maximum to be fully effective.

The Oxford-AstraZeneca has also been approved for use in Canada, but a national panel of vaccine experts is recommending it only be given to people under 65 — a guideline Shandro says Alberta will follow.

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