Nearly all slots filled for AstraZeneca vaccine as Alberta reports 474 new cases of COVID-19 Saturday

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The province has nearly filled up all possible appointments for the current AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine supply, Alberta Health Services said Saturday.

Currently, Albertans who were born between 1957 to 1961, and First Nations, Métis and Inuit people born in 1972 to 1976, are eligible for the vaccine. However, those eligible Albertans will be able to book their appointments online or by calling HealthLink at 811 until 4 p.m. on Sunday, Alberta Health Services (AHS) said in a news release.

After that time, appointments for remaining doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine can only be booked through 811.

“Calgary and Edmonton have limited appointments remaining. There are appointments available in regional and rural areas. If you choose to receive this vaccine, you may need to travel outside your home community to receive it,” the news release stated.

No other birth years will open at this time, AHS said, due to the limited number of doses remaining. Alberta originally received 58,500 doses and the province anticipates more supply of the AstraZeneca vaccine will be available in the spring.

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Once more supply is received, the same birth years will be open again to ensure everyone who wants the vaccine and is eligible for it can receive it.

Meanwhile, Alberta reported 474 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday and 70 more variant cases — marking a new single-day record for the number of identified variant cases in the province.

The previous record for COVID-19 variant cases was on March 7, when 54 were reported. Saturday also marked the highest number of new cases the province has seen since Jan. 28, when 520 were reported.

The total number of COVID-19 variant cases identified in the province now stands at 854 after 70 more cases of the B.1.1.7 variant, first found in the United Kingdom, were reported. Of the total number of variants, 839 are the B.1.1.7 variant and 15 are the B.1.351 variant, first identified in South Africa.

The Edmonton Zone, which includes the city of Edmonton and surrounding municipalities, has 361 of the COVID-19 variant cases in the province.

Over the last 24 hours, 8,873 tests were completed for a positivity rate of 5.3 per cent. Across Alberta, there are 4,594 active cases of COVID-19, an increase of 48 since Friday. In the Edmonton Zone there are 1,147 active cases, a decrease of eight from the previous day. Of those, 969 are in the city of Edmonton for 93.3 per 100,000 people.

There are 254 people hospitalized with COVID-19, a decrease of three from Friday, and of those, 35 are in intensive care units, also a decrease of three .

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Five more deaths were reported, bringing the provincial death toll to 1,940. The deaths are a man in his 60s in Edmonton Zone, a woman in her 90s linked to the outbreak at Misericordia Community Hospital inpatient services, a man in his 80s and a man in his 90s, both linked to the outbreak at Churchill Manor, and a man in his 80s in Central Zone.

Through end-of-day Friday, Alberta has administered 346,135 doses of COVID-19 vaccine for 7,827.8 doses per 100,000 people. There was an increase of 12,756 doses from the previous day.

There are now 91,520 Albertans fully immunized with two doses.

ajunker@postmedia.com

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