A Ponoka senior says she is waiting “not very patiently” to receive her second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Deb Bachman saw last week there were no waiting lines to receive the vaccine in her town, so she called to see if she can book an appointment for a second shot.
“I called and was informed that I couldn’t have my second shot because a lot of people haven’t had their first yet. However, there was no waiting list,” she said.
“No one was in line so I asked, ‘If there’s no one waiting, why can’t I get my second shot?’ I was told (Alberta Health Services) is going to be announcing an initiative in the middle of June for those of us to get our second shot.”
Bachman said it “makes absolutely no sense whatsoever” to not allow people to receive a second dose if so many appointments continue to be available. It would also be troubling if vaccines were to expire before usage, she added.
“I worked in health care for a long time and from what I see going on, I need some clarification. If they are discarding vaccines (due to expiration), it would be criminal,” said Bachman.
According to the province’s website, Albertans who received one dose of Pfizer or Moderna will get their second shot no later than four months after the first dose. People who received a dose of AstraZenca will receive their second shot not later than four months and no earlier than three months after their first dose.
Currently, Alberta has about 7,700 doses of AstraZeneca remaining – those will expire June 30. The other mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are “not at risk of expiring for some time,” said Tom McMillan, Alberta Health assistant director of communications.
McMillan said a pharmacy or AHS will contact patients closer to their eligibility date to book their next appointment. Bookings can all be made online and via 811 when eligible.
“With more vaccines arriving every week, we are looking at when we can start offering the second doses,” chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said earlier this week.
“We don’t have an exact timeline yet for when this will occur, but we will update you when more information is available.”
RCMP recently began investigating claims that some vaccine appointments are intentionally being wasted by people who are booking appointments and not following through with getting a vaccine.
AHS is aware of individuals who have claimed on social media to have booked multiple COVID-19 vaccination appointments in an attempt to prevent other Albertans from receiving their dose. This information has been shared with law enforcement.