Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced Tuesday that Albertans could start booking second dose shots of the COVID-19 vaccine starting Tuesday night. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced Tuesday that Albertans could start booking second dose shots of the COVID-19 vaccine starting Tuesday night. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)

‘Another big milestone’: Alberta announces plan for second doses of COVID-19 vaccine

Every eligible Albertan should be able to book a second shot of COVID-19 vaccine in June

Alberta is expanding its rollout of second-dose COVID-19 vaccines, starting immediately.

In an announcement Tuesday, Premier Jason Kenney said anyone who got their first dose in March can now book an appointment.

The vaccination plan will also allow those who were vaccinated in April to book second doses as of June 14 and anyone who got a shot in May, should be able to start booking on June 28.

“This is another big milestone in the fight against COVID-19 and it takes us even closer to a post-pandemic world, where we can get back to doing what we love and spending time with those that we most care about,” Kenney said.

Originally, 16 weeks wait time was scheduled between doses for most Albertans. Minister of Health Tyler Shandro said that most people will not have to wait longer than 12 weeks and in many cases, only wait between three to four weeks.

Albertans who received AstraZeneca can get another shot of the same vaccine or choose a mRNA vaccine like Moderna or Pfizer.

“First doses have brought Albertans much-needed relief to our families, our communities and our health system, but two doses are necessary for full protection,” Shandro said.

“We are staggering the second-dose rollout to start with those who received their first dose earliest.”

Alberta has administered more than 2.8 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and 10.4 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated. That’s double the national second dose average and the highest in the country. Overall, 63 per cent of Albertans 12 and older have at least one shot of the vaccine.

The speeding up of second doses comes as the premier touted the province’s progress in the fight against the virus. He reported 209 new cases Tuesday, based on 4,100 tests for a positivity rate of 5.1 per cent.

That’s in stark contrast to just weeks ago.

At the peak of the third wave, almost three weeks ago, active cases have dropped 73 per cent. Hospitalizations have dropped about 40 per cent from 734 to 438.

Even over the past week, active cases in the province dropped by about 44 per cent, from 12,054 to 6,771. Red Deer is down to 239 active cases of the virus, one of the lowest case totals for the city since early April.

The Central zone has 826 active cases of the virus, with 50 people hospitalized with the virus, including 13 in the ICU.

When looking at the province’s geospatial mapping for COVID-19 cases on the municipality setting, regions are defined by metropolitan areas, cities, urban service areas, rural areas and towns with approximately 10,000 or more people; smaller regions are incorporated into the corresponding rural area.

With that setting, Red Deer County has 56 active cases of the virus, Lacombe County has 32 active and Clearwater County sits at 58 active.

Lacombe has 42 active and Sylvan Lake has 37, while Olds sits at 14 active. Mountain View County sits at 29 active, Kneehill County has 14 active and Drumheller has no active cases.

Camrose County sits at eight active cases and the County of Stettler has 31.

Camrose is at 10 active cases and Wetaskiwin has 32 active.

On the local geographic area setting, Wetaskiwin County, including Maskwacis has 72 active. Ponoka, including East Ponoka County, has 24 active cases. Rimbey, including parts of Lacombe County has 30 active.