Central zone has been out of COVID-19 vaccine since last week, bringing vaccine rollout efforts to a temporary halt.
“Due to a shortage of the Moderna vaccine this week, (Alberta Health Services) was unable to complete planned immunization of about 2,000 (long-term care and designated supportive living) residents in South, Central and Edmonton zones,” said AHS spokesperson Kerry Williamson on Wednesday.
“Central zone completely ran out of vaccine over the weekend. Numerous North zone sites ran out of vaccines over the past few days, and South zone had to reduce the number of available appointments.”
Vaccine shortages in Calgary zone meant 1,500 appointments set up for health-care workers had to be dropped so residents in seniors and supportive living homes could be vaccinated.
“AHS has the capacity to deliver 50,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine per week, subject to vaccine supply coming into Alberta,” said Williamson, in an email.
Providing immunizations is not an issue – supply is.
“We need additional product.”
While AHS has the ability and capacity to complete all immunizations at long term care and designated supportive living facilities by the end of the week, the vaccine shortage may prevent that from happening.
More vaccines are expected to arrive on Friday and long-term care and supportive living residents will be first in line.
Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said in her daily COVID update on Tuesday that province’s supply of vaccines will start to run short of capacity within the next week.
As of Monday, 52,318 doses of the vaccine had been administered.
To stretch available vaccines further, the province is pushing the second dose for some people from two to three weeks to up to 42 days.
Hinshaw said on Wednesday that running short of vaccine “certainly in the coming weeks this will be an occurrence that is relatively common as again we work to get the doses that we have into the arms of Albertans as quickly as we can.”
AHS is striving to manage bookings — increasing or decreasing them as needed — to inconvenience people as little as possible while getting the vaccine to those eligible as quickly as possible, she said.