Provincial authorities continue to adjust their target for COVID-19 vaccines as shortages are on the horizon.
Alberta premier Jason Kenney said Monday that the province might run out as early as next week and they have already used three-quarters of the doses in its stock.
“We are effectively set to run out of vaccine doses, about a week from now,” said Kenney, adding premiers across Canada have urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to deliver more vaccines to the provinces.
The federal government announced Tuesday that they had reached an agreement to purchase another 20 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines. That brings the total number of vaccine doses arriving in Canada up to 80 million.
“By mid-spring – between April and June – we’ll have enough doses to vaccinate up to 20 million people across the country. And as we’ve said before, we’re on track to have every Canadian who wants a vaccine receive one by September,” the Primer Minister said in a tweet Tuesday night.
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw explained in her COVID-19 briefing Tuesday that the province’s supply of vaccines will start to run short of its capacity within the next week.
Alberta reported that 52,318 doses of the vaccine had been administered as of Jan. 11.
Hinshaw noted Tuesday that the province is now spreading out the second dose of the vaccine for some people, in order to protect the most vulnerable. They have pushed the second dose for some from three to four weeks, up to 42 days.
“We felt the responsible thing to do to prevent as many deaths as possible was to be able to provide that first dose to as many people as possible, while still planning for that second dose,” she said.
Hinshaw said research shows that the effectiveness of a single dose is about 90 per cent, but it still is unclear how long a single dose will protect an individual for– hence the importance of a second dose.
“None of these are easy decisions, but it’s really important that as we’re considering all these options, we make sure we’re thinking about the benefits and risk at individual levels, as well as the population level,” she said.
Hinshaw added that all long-term care and supportive living residents will still receive their second dose at the three to four-week level. They will also continue to honour appointments that have already been booked.
-With files from the Canadian Press.