On Jan. 18, Premier Jason Kenney provided an update on the COVID-19 vaccine supply in Alberta.
On Jan. 17, the first dose of vaccinations at all of Alberta’s long-term care and designated supported living facilities was completed.
“This is a tremendous milestone and I believe makes Alberta the first province in the country to complete the first dose vaccine rollout for this important and highly vulnerable population,” Kenney said.
Alberta Health Services (AHS) has administered nearly 90,000 doses of vaccines since Dec. 15.
“By Jan. 19, Albertans will have no more vaccines and storage to administer as first doses to Albertans,” Kenney said.
“It’s great that we’ve been able to vaccinate so many, but we have quite simply run out of supply,” he said.
The government of Alberta expects additional vaccines to be shipped within the coming weeks and are currently making adjustments to accommodate the lack of supply.
“Even with the new shipment of Pfizer vaccines expected later this week, we won’t have enough vaccine to continue with new first dose appointments. First dose appointments will not be scheduled until further notice,” Kenney said.
By pausing first appointments, AHS can ensure enough vaccine is allocated for second dose appointments.
“Second dose appointments will not be cancelled. We believe that we can administer second doses to all those that need them within the recommended time frame,” Kenney said.
Adding, “Our ability to get needed vaccine in the arms of Albertans is limited by the number of vaccine doses obtained by the government of Canada.”
There are three components to ensure the vaccine program is successful.
“We must have the staff and resources to deliver the vaccine and clearly we have that in place. Not only are we in a position to be able to deliver over 50,000 doses per week but by expanding the vaccination program to include pharmacists we expect to reach even higher weekly goals of about 200,000 per week by the end of March,” Kenney said.
“We need Albertans to sign up and get that shot. It’s the third component that we really have no control over and that of course is vaccine supply, the shipments we’ve received do not match the pace at which we’re able to vaccinate Albertans,” he said.
Adding, “I’m deeply disappointed at the situation that we are now facing.”
As a result of the low vaccine supply, the government of Alberta has delayed the number of planned vaccines for eligible health care workers, and the broader phase one populations.
“We’ve had to change our vaccination plan accordingly,” Kenney said.
The planned vaccinations of first nations and metis individuals over the age of 65 and seniors over the age of 75 has been put on hold.
“This week new shipments of Pfizer vaccines will not be enough to match our pace of inoculation, and so appointments regrettably will have to be rescheduled and fewer Albertans will be vaccinated in the short-term,” Kenney said.
“We now have the capacity to deliver over 50,000 doses a week, but we simply do not have the supply to match,” he said.
“Despite the setback, we remain in a position to ramp up and get back to record vaccination numbers once sufficient doses are delivered,” he added. “I know that seems to be a bit of a moving target, but that is where we stand today.”