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More Albertans with health conditions eligible for COVID vaccine

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – Starting Wednesday morning, around half a million Albertans will be eligible to book for their COVID-19 vaccine.

In its latest phase of the vaccine rollout program, Alberta Health will start accepting appointments for those born in 2005 and earlier with an underlying health condition.

This news comes a day after the province moved back into step one of its relaunch plan, placing restrictions back on restaurants, retailers and fitness centres in an effort to stunt the growth in case numbers and hospitalizations.

During that announcement, Premier Jason Kenney said right now it’s a race between vaccines and COVID-19 variants and the variants are winning, but there is a glimmer of hope.

“This is all right ahead of us and we are so close. It’s possible because we are finally seeing the shipments that should have come weeks or months ago.”

Underlying conditions include cancer patients, dementia, chronic kidney conditions and pregnancy.

Only 150,000 Albertans were able to get a vaccine under the first step of Phase 2B but after the province received 400,000 doses of the vaccine recently, they’ve decided to open it up to anyone over 16 with an underlying medical condition.

“By immediately expanding Phase 2B, as we are doing, to include everyone born between 1974 and the year 2005, half a million more Albertans will become eligible for vaccines overnight,” said Kenney.

As well, Albertans between the ages of 55 and 64 who don’t have a chronic medical condition can now book to get the AstraZeneca vaccine. Those eligible in this phase can also choose to wait for a Pfizer or Moderna shot in Phase 2D of the rollout in May.

As of Monday, Alberta Health said 734,403 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been given with over 100,000 Albertans fully immunized with both doses.

Kenney said once two-thirds of Albertans have immunity, things will start to feel like normal again and once three-quarters are immune, it’s fully back to normal without masks or isolation.

Vaccine appointments can be booked at select pharmacies or through Alberta Health Services online or through 811.

 

-With files from CityNews