Loading articles...

Alberta gets ready to open bookings for AstraZeneca vaccine

Last Updated Mar 9, 2021 at 6:42 pm MDT

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – Alberta is allowing two groups to start booking their appointments to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine on Wednesday.

Those eligible include Albertans aged 50 to 64 and First Nations, Métis, and Inuit individuals aged 35 to 49 who have no severe chronic illnesses.

Alberta’s Chief Medical officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, explained on Monday that the province is only receiving 58,500 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine and there are around 400,000 people who fall under this age group.

“This is a fairly large age group so it is likely we will not be able to offer vaccines to all those aged 50 to 64 right now,” she said.

READ MORE: Twenty-eight new cases of B.1.1.7 variant, six additional deaths reported in Alberta

“Everyone will eventually have a chance to be immunized, whether sooner with AstraZeneca or later with Pfizer or Moderna when available.”

Appointments will be conducted in stages by birth, one year at a time, while supply’s last. Alberta will start with those born in 1957 who can book through Alberta Health Services (AHS) online tool or call 811 starting at 8 a.m.

First Nations, Métis and Inuit individuals born in 1972 will need to call Health Link at 811 to book their appointment.

This targeted age group can choose to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine now or wait until their sequenced phase to receive the Pfizer or Moderna dose.

Studies have shown the efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine is estimated to be around 62 per cent in people 18 to 64, while the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine is about 94 per cent effective.

AHS has upgraded its online booking tool after the system experienced issued last month.

READ MORE: Can you choose your COVID-19 vaccine?

“Albertans calling 811 now have a choice to route their calls to book a COVID-19 immunization appointment or to reach a registered nurse for medical concerns. The two options will help refer callers more quickly to the resource they need. A holding queue for callers requesting the immunization appointment option has also been created which will allow 350 individuals to wait for a Health Link team member to book their vaccine appointment,” AHS said in a statement.

AHS added that the online booking tool and 811 allows them to have the capacity to book around 5,000 individuals an hour.