Alberta Premier Jason Kenney believes the province has the capacity to administer up to half a million vaccine doses per week, provided they get the supply.
In a 90-minute Facebook Live question and answer Wednesday, the premier touched on a number of topics, including summer events, quarantine hotels, mask mandates coal mining policies and vaccine distribution.
Answering a question about a potential move to 24-hour vaccine appointments in the near future, he touted the province’s ability to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Last week we were doing 10,000 a week, but we’re running out of supply constantly. If we finally start to get a big dump of doses, we are ready to roll,” he said.
“Our aspirational target – our stretch goal is half a million a week. If you take what we’re already doing through (Alberta Health Services), add on 300,000 a week that pharmacies can deliver and these big vaccine depots we’re going to be setting up… we believe we can do 400,000 to 500,000 per week… we are pretty confident we can maintain several hundred thousand doses per week, once we get the supply.”
Alberta has administered over 300,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine so far, with close to 100,000 people getting both doses. The province is expected to receive close to 600,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines by mid-April, according to the federal government’s vaccine delivery schedule.
That vaccine capacity will help solve another problem in the province, surrounding what will happen with summer events like the Calgary Stampede and closer to home, Westerner Days.
Kenney said his government recognizes the need to make a decision soon about a direction for those organizers, but if the province is able to give Albertan adults one dose of the vaccine by July 1, events with greater capacity could be possible.
“If we are able to maintain the current pace of inoculation and we do get the supplies the feds have promised us, then we should be in a totally different situation by the end of June,” he said.
“We should be able to proceed with a higher risk tolerance because the majority of adults by that time should have received their first dose. Plus summer weather helps.
“I’m optimistic we’re going to have summer events, however, I would not be surprised if there were some limitations on crowd sizes, on proximity and things like that.”