Albertans in their thirties won’t become eligible for AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine just yet despite a new recommendation from a national panel because of supply issues, Health Minister Tyler Shandro said Friday.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization’s announcement that AstraZeneca is safe for people 30 and older is “welcome news,” Shandro said in a tweet, but for now the province can’t open up shots to younger groups because they don’t have enough, he said.
“With approximately 112,000 doses remaining at pharmacies and AHS sites, and over 100,000 appointments booked in the next 14 days, and no future shipments confirmed, we will continue administering doses to those 40 and older at this time,” he said.
“It’s disappointing that we have not received confirmation of any future shipments of AstraZeneca arriving in Alberta. We continue to call on the federal government to do whatever it takes to increase vaccine supply in the coming weeks.”
Canada is expecting 4.1 million AstraZeneca vaccines to arrive from multiple source countries by the end of June, federal procurement minister Anita Anand told media last week.
Health Canada’s vaccine supply website also shows shipments of Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines are on the way.
The federal government forecasts Alberta will receive hundreds of thousands of Pfizer vaccines in the next few months, including two shipments of 119,340 doses between April 19 and 25, and between April 26 and May 2.
It forecasts 236,340 doses will arrive in Alberta every week in the month of May, growing to over 281,000 a week through to the first week of July.
There are also 70,900 Moderna doses expected to arrive between April 26 and May 2.
1,690 cases on Friday
Meantime, Alberta reported 1,690 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday — of which 1,184 were variants of concern — following 17,562 tests.
Active cases grew to 19,446 in Alberta, of which 5,403 were in the Edmonton Zone, and 8,397 in the Calgary Zone. Variant cases made up 60.4 per cent of active cases.
Five more people have died from COVID-19.
Hospitalizations continue to rise to 549 (+31), including 125 (+9) in ICU.
More to come …
— With files from the Canadian Press