Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said on Tuesday that youngsters aged five to 11 can start getting vaccinated on Friday. (File photo from The Canadian Press)

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said on Tuesday that youngsters aged five to 11 can start getting vaccinated on Friday. (File photo from The Canadian Press)

Parents can book youngsters for vaccinations starting Wednesday in Alberta

391,000 children aged five to 11 eligible for Pfizer vaccine

Parents can book their children aged five to 11 for COVID-19 shots beginning Wednesday morning, said Premier Jason Kenney.

On Tuesday, Alberta received 394,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine, the only vaccine approved for use in children aged five to 11 in Canada.

That is enough vaccine to give all 391,000 of Alberta children between five and 11 their first shot, meaning 94 per cent of Albertans can now get a shot.

“The wait is basically over,” Kenney said Tuesday. “This is welcome news for many parents who will log in, I suspect, first thing tomorrow morning to book their kids’ vaccines.”

The vaccine will be administered at 120 Alberta Health Services clinics throughout Alberta beginning Friday.

Kenney said the vaccine will be administered through clinics instead of schools because inoculation rates were low when an in-school vaccination program was offered for youth aged 12 to 18 earlier in the fall.

Children will not be subjected to the restrictions exemption program, he said.

“Ultimately we felt it would be unfair to young children to exclude them and to further stigmatize, especially given their low risk for severe outcomes from COVID-19.

The premier said COVID cases are trending in the right direction. There were about 5,000 active cases Tuesday, down from 15,000 two months ago.

There are 475 people in hospital, including 94 in intensive care, down from 1,100 in hospital and 266 in ICU during the fourth wave’s peak on Sept. 27.

“This shows that targeted public health measures and rising rates of immunization, vaccination have worked to slow the spread of COVID-19,” he said.

Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said 10 new deaths have been reported, including a child under two with complex pre-existing medical conditions. Four of the deaths occurred in Central zone where 396 have died from complications related to COVID since the pandemic began.

Hinshaw said those currently eligible for COVID vaccines should wait eight weeks between first and second doses. Those seeking a booster shot should wait six months since their last shot.

Meanwhile, Alberta’s QR code will be updated to meet international travel standards. If you are not planning to travel, you can continue to use the old code.

There are now 5,001 active cases in the province, to go along with 324,776 recovered cases and 3,227 deaths due to implications of COVID-19.

Red Deer now has 138 active cases, according geospatial mapping on the provincial government’s website, down from Monday’s 150.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the city has recorded 9,356 recovered cases and 81 deaths.

There are currently 113 hospitalized, including nine in the ICU, in Central zone.

Overall, the Central zone has 744 active cases.

The City of Lacombe has 31 active cases, Mountain View County has 35, Red Deer County has 41, Clearwater County has 38, Lacombe County has 17, Sylvan Lake has 25, Olds has 23 and County of Stettler has 17.

The City of Camrose has 67 active cases, Camrose County has 22, Kneehill County has 13 and Drumheller has 16.

Wetaskiwin County, including Maskwacis, has 101 active cases, while Ponoka, including East Ponoka County, has 12 and Rimbey, including West Ponoka County and part of Lacombe County, has nine.