Third vaccine shots available to some Albertans Sept. 1

The UCP government announced Monday that starting Sept. 1, third doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be available to all seniors living in congregate care facilities and Albertans who are immunocompromised.

That third dose will be made available to those who received their second dose five months ago, and those doses will be administered at the seniors’ facility.

The government says a third dose will boost immunity levels and improve protection for those eligible to receive the shot.

Additionally, mRNA doses will be made available to Albertans travelling to jurisdictions that do not accept visitors vaccinated with Covishield/AstraZeneca or mixed doses.

“We remain committed to protecting Albertans from COVID-19, and vaccinations are the safest and most effective way to offer this protection,” said Minister of Health Tyler Shandro in a media release. “We have always relied on the latest research to guide our decision-making, and now that evidence shows immunocompromised individuals and seniors in congregate care will benefit from getting a third dose, we are pleased to provide them.”

Below are the conditions to qualify for immunocompromised:

  • Transplant recipients, including solid organ transplants and hematopoietic stem cell transplants.
  • Individuals with chronic kidney disease who are receiving regular dialysis.
  • Individuals in active cancer treatment (chemotherapy, immunotherapy or targeted therapies) excluding those receiving only hormonal therapy, radiation therapy or surgery.
  • Individuals on certain medications for autoimmune diseases, including rituximab, ocrelizumab and ofatumumab.

Alberta’s current vaccination level is 77.9 per cent having the first dose, and 69.7 having two doses.

Earlier Monday, the NDP Opposition called on the UCP to “come out of hiding” and present a plan for a fourth wave of COVID-19.

“We are now entering a fourth wave of COVID-19 and it appears no one is running the government,” said Alberta NDP Finance Critic Shannon Phillips in a media release Monday. “The UCP has lost billions on their bad fiscal policies and now they’re hoarding federal dollars meant to support families struggling through the pandemic just because the Finance Minister needs it to paper over Jason Kenney’s mistakes.”

Later in the day, NDP Critic for Health, David Shepherd said the 3,000 new cases recorded over the weekend, bringing the total current cases to more than 11,000 was a “grim milestone” and a level of infection not seen since May.

“As the situation in Alberta grows more serious with every passing day, no one in Jason Kenney’s UCP government has emerged from hiding to present a response or even acknowledge the situation,” Shepherd said, adding the government is still intentionally withholding critical modelling and data from Albertans. “Jason Kenney and the UCP have abandoned their posts and abandoned Alberta. I have never seen such a display of cowardice in Canadian politics.”

Monday also saw Edmonton City Council reinstate their mask bylaw for all publicly accessible indoor spaces in Edmonton effective Friday, Sept. 3.  That motion passed 9-2.

As of Monday’s government update, there are currently 401 hospitalizations with 98 Albertans in ICU.

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