Canada

Alberta received shipment of 21,450 Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines this week

WATCH (Jan. 21): Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, head of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution team said on Thursday that over 1.1 million doses of vaccines have been delivered so far to provinces and territories after Pfizer announced their supply to Canada would be reduced by an average of 50 per cent until mid-February.

As of Thursday, about 96,500 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered to Albertans and more are likely going to be able to get their second dose thanks to another shipment.

Read more: Canada adds 5,955 new COVID-19 infections as Pfizer vaccines get delayed further

Alberta Health confirmed the province received a shipment of Pfizer vaccine this week. That shipment included 21,450 doses.

“With 96,500 doses of vaccine delivered, thousands of the most vulnerable seniors and health-care workers now have an extra layer of protection,” chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Thursday.

As of Wednesday, Alberta Health Services had administered just 7,003 second doses.

Read more: What to know about 2nd doses of COVID-19 vaccine in Alberta as shortages persist

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On Monday, after learning of a delay in Pfizer vaccine, Premier Jason Kenney said first dose appointments were being paused to ensure there was enough vaccine available for committed second dose appointments.

On Tuesday, Hinshaw said it seemed like there was enough vaccine in hand as well as what had been committed, even with the reduction in Pfizer supplies, to be able to offer that second dose to those who have booked it.

Alberta Health Services prioritizing second doses of COVID-19 vaccine

On Thursday, Alberta’s top doctor reiterated the province would do its “utmost” to ensure “that every individual who’s received their first dose does get their second dose within the 42-day timeline.

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“If not, they’ll continue to be eligible and will receive it as soon as possible after that.”

Hinshaw said Alberta was working with the federal government and other provinces to use current allocations “as wisely as possible.”

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What to know about 2nd doses of COVID-19 vaccine in Alberta as shortages persist

She added that while there are many unknowns with the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, health officials can consider evidence from other types of vaccines.

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Read more: Pfizer vaccine delay a ‘blow,’ will affect Alberta’s vaccine schedule: health minister

“We know that with other vaccines, that when someone has their first dose, there is no end date at which time they’re no longer eligible for a second dose,” Hinshaw said.

“And we know, sometimes, with some other vaccines, that if there is a little bit of a longer interval between first and second dose, the overall long-lasting immune response can sometimes be better.”

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On Thursday, Alberta confirmed an additional 678 cases of COVID-19 out of 14,060 tests, putting Alberta’s positivity rate at 4.8 per cent.

Read more: Current COVID-19 restrictions in place ‘a little while longer’ as Alberta reaches 1,500 deaths

There were 726 people in hospital and 119 of those people were in the ICU.

Alberta will not relax public health restrictions yet, despite falling cases of COVID-19

“Our positivity rate, active cases and hospitalizations continue to decline,” Hinshaw said. “This is good news and shows restrictions are helping to prevent more people from being exposed and getting sick with this virus, and that the overwhelming majority of Albertans are doing their part.

Read more: Feds publish coronavirus vaccine distribution list, painting rollout picture for coming months

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“We are not in the clear just yet,” she said.

“Our cases are falling, but we still have the second highest active case rates per capita in Canada.

“While our hospitalizations have decreased significantly from the peak, they remain extremely high.”

An additional 16 deaths were also announced, bringing Alberta’s COVID-19 death toll to 1,500.

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