COVID-19: Kenney, Hinshaw to announce plan for second doses of vaccine

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Premier Jason Kenney and Dr. Deena Hinshaw will unveil Alberta’s rollout plan for second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday afternoon.

Kenney and Hinshaw will be joined at the 3:30 p.m. press conference by Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Dr. Verna Yiu, president and chief executive officer, Alberta Health Services.

Albertans have been waiting for weeks to find out whether those who received a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine can receive an mRNA vaccine for their second. The province began administering AstraZeneca doses 12 weeks ago.

Most other provinces have released some plans already, including allowing the mixing of vaccines and shortening intervals between doses from the maximum of 16 weeks.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization issued new guidance Tuesday allowing Canadians who received the AstraZeneca vaccine to choose to get Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca for their second dose.

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Across Canada, 41 confirmed or suspected cases of vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia – a rare but serious blood clotting syndrome potentially linked to AstraZeneca – have been diagnosed. Five people have died including one in Edmonton.

NACI’s published report also said those who got a first dose of Moderna can get Pfizer for their second if Moderna isn’t available.

As of Sunday, 62.8 per cent of Albertans 12 and older had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The province entered Stage 1 of reopening Tuesday, permitting patios and salons to reopen among the eased restrictions.

If hospitalizations stay below 500 and continue to decline, Alberta will proceed to Stage 2 on June 10, which will allow indoor venues such as gyms and entertainment facilities to reopen as well as up to 150 people to attend outdoor concerts and festivals.

Nearly all restrictions are set to be removed two weeks after 70 per cent of Albertans over the age of 12 have had one shot. Kenney has said he expects that to happen by the end of June or early July.

More to come

With files from The Canadian Press

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