Albertans continue to roll up their sleeves to fight Covid-19. This time it’s for their second shot.
The province announced last week that Albertans are now able to receive their second dose of vaccine. To date, more than 2.8 million doses have been administered and more than 63.4 per cent of Albertans ages 12 and over have received at least one dose.
“Every Albertan who has received their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine will be able to book their second dose by the end of the month. This will provide Albertans with even more protection as we get ready to be open for summer and get back to normal,” said premier Jason Kenney. “Please do your part by booking your second doses so we can beat Covid-19 once and for all.”
Albertans will be able to schedule second-dose appointments in the order they received their first doses. Anyone vaccinated in March or earlier can book their second dose starting June 1, while those vaccinated in April can book their second dose starting June 14, and anyone vaccinated in May can book their second Covid-19 vaccine dose starting on June 28.
The province stated earlier this month a single dose of Covid-19 vaccine offers at least 80 per cent protection against severe outcomes, including hospitalization and death. However, second doses are needed for the best and most long-lasting protection against the virus. Alberta is taking the lead in Canada in second doses, with 10.4 per cent of eligible Albertans already fully protected with two doses.
“First doses have brought Albertans much-needed relief to our families, our communities and our health system, but two doses are necessary for full protection,” said Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health. “We are staggering the second-dose rollout to start with those who received their first dose earliest. Thank you to the AHS workers, pharmacists and physicians who continue to work tirelessly to administer these vaccines and to all Albertans who have chosen to get protected.”
Alberta Health Services (AHS) and participating pharmacies that administered the first dose will contact Albertans, where possible, to remind them they are eligible for their second dose. However, Albertans do not need to wait to be contacted to book an appointment once they become eligible. Albertans can choose to book a second dose wherever they wish to be immunized.
Appointments for second doses can be made online through the AHS website, by calling 811 or through participating pharmacies and physicians’ offices. Second doses will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.
While the interval between first and second doses will start at 12 weeks, Alberta will now be able to offer second-dose appointments at progressively earlier intervals, provided vaccine supply remains stable. For Pfizer and Moderna, the interval will be lowered over time to a minimum of three to four weeks as supply becomes available to the eligible groups.
For AstraZeneca, the interval will be lowered over time to a minimum recommended length of eight weeks or more for best effectiveness. Albertans who received an AstraZeneca dose in March or earlier can now book second-dose appointments and anyone who received an AstraZeneca shot in April or May should wait until eight weeks have passed since their first dose before booking.
Albertans who received a first dose of AstraZeneca will also have a choice. They can book a second appointment for AstraZeneca by going to the online AHS booking site, calling 811, or going to a pharmacy listed on the Alberta Blue Cross website. Citizens can book a second appointment for an mRNA vaccine through participating pharmacies or AHS. Bookings for first doses remain a top priority.
“I strongly urge all Albertans to book their second-dose appointments in the coming weeks and months. It is critical that everyone who has received their first dose shows up for their second,” said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health. “In the meantime, we all need to continue to follow public health measures to keep driving transmission down.”