Alberta seniors are next in line to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Friday afternoon Premier Jason Kenney announced Alberta’s vaccine program will expand to all those 75 and older.
Beginning Friday, vaccines will be distributed at retirement centres, seniors lodges and all other congregate or supportive living facilities, he said.
Starting Wednesday, seniors will be able to book appointments in their community depending on vaccine supply. Appointments can be made through Alberta Health Services online portal or by phone.
“We have to ensure those who are most at risk of severe health outcomes, get the vaccine as quick as we can get it to them,” he said.
Kenney said Alberta’s plan has the ability to ramp up vaccinations per week and is shooting for over 200,000 a week before the end of March. Vaccination centres and pharmacies will also be part of the vaccine distribution plan down the line.
The federal government updated its vaccine distribution data Thursday and expects to deliver more than 365,000 doses of the PfizerNBiotech vaccine to Alberta by April 4. Moderna is on track to deliver 32,900 doses to the province by the end of February.
Alberta has administered over 155,000 doses of the vaccine, including 58,674 who have been fully vaccinated with two doses.
“We hoped we’d be much further ahead with our efforts to vaccinate Albertans by now,” he said.
“The lack of vaccine supply has held us back.”
According to the provincial government, Phase 2 of the vaccine rollout, which will start in April, is set to include close to 1.8 million Alberta.
Eligibility for that portion is divided into four groups – group A includes Albertans aged 65 to 74, no matter where they live, First Nations and Métis people aged 50 to 64, on and off-reserve or Métis Settlements and staff of licensed supportive living facilities not included in Phase 1.
Group B includes Albertans aged 18 to 64 with high-risk underlying health conditions.
Residents and staff of eligible congregate living settings will be part of Group C. That includes correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and group homes, including disability, mental health and other types of licensed supportive living.
Group D includes Albertans aged 50 to 64, no matter where they live and First Nations and Métis people aged 35 to 49 on and off-reserve or Métis settlements. This group also includes health-care workers providing direct and acute patient care who have a high potential for spread to high-risk individuals as well as caregivers of Albertans who are most at risk of severe outcomes.
The premier also said that the province has now fully immunized all residents in public long-term care and designated supportive living facilities across the province. That included more than 29,233 residents.