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Thousands of COVID-19 vaccine appointments cancelled due to shortage

Tanya Harvey, ICU Nurse at Foothills Care Centre one of two first Albertans to receive COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday. (CREDIT: Twitter @AHS_media)

EDMONTON (660 NEWS) — Alberta has had to “close” thousands of COVID-19 vaccination appointments across the province as it continues to deal with supply challenges.

Around 1,500 available appointments for health-care workers in the Calgary zone had to be closed so vaccines would be available for vulnerable long-term care and designated supportive living residents.

Alberta Health Services was unable to complete 2,000 planned vaccinations for continuing care residents in the South, Central and Edmonton zones due to a shortage of the Moderna vaccine.

Over the past few days, the North zone ran out of doses and the South zone had to reduce the number of available appointments. Central zone completely ran out of vaccines over the weekend.

“We would like to vaccinate many, many more people daily but are limited by the federal government’s slow vaccine deliveries,” Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health, said in a tweet.

Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said on Wednesday that Alberta Health Services had been taking appointments that previously were open and available and closing them down.

“I don’t believe there were a large number of people who were scheduled to show up and that their appointment has been moved, I think the impact has mostly been in closing down possible appointments so people can’t book into them,” she said.

Hinshaw added this will have an impact because it means it can take longer for eligible people to receive their vaccines.

As the province waits for more shipments of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to arrive, Hinshaw said this cycle will become a common occurrence.

“I would anticipate that certainly in the coming weeks, this will be an occurrence that’s relatively common as we work to get the doses that we have into the arms of Albertans as quickly as we can,” she said.

Alberta Health Services continues to monitor its supply and is forecasting appointments to try and reduce any inconvenience for people having to reschedule, Hinshaw said.

Earlier this week, Alberta received 24,375 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and is anticipating another delivery of the Moderna vaccine by Friday.

As of Wednesday afternoon, 58,144 doses have been administered with 10 adverse events following immunization.