Nor has it laid out how the vaccine will be administered.
During a news conference on Wednesday, Premier Jason Kenney said his government expected to release those details “as early as Friday.”
On Thursday, Health Minister Tyler Shandro didn’t give a specific date during the COVID-19 update, but said those details should be expected “fairly soon.”
“I think we made sure that we’ve communicated to people the principles of how these decisions are to be made are based on vulnerability, on equity, on making sure that we are looking at the evidence,” Shandro said.
Dr. Noel Gibney, the co-chair of the Edmonton Zone Medical Staff Association’s COVID-19 pandemic response committee, and a professor emeritus at the University of Alberta, doesn’t understand why Alberta has not provided any further details yet, saying many other provinces have outlined their plans for Phase 2 and even Phase 3.
“By virtue of not outlining the schedule, this also suggests that they don’t necessarily have a plan to get it out there now that indeed it is going to be arriving in the near future,” he said.
“It’s important this month to be figuring out how are we actually going to deliver these doses locally.
“And I think the lack of information is undermining the public’s confidence in the ability of the government to actually get the vaccine out to them.”
Shandro said Alberta has sufficient capacity to get out thousands of doses of vaccine quickly — pointing to the hundreds of thousands of Albertans that are vaccinated every flu season — but the issue has been the delayed shipments from the federal government. If those were to suddenly pick up, Alberta could handle that too, he said.
“If there was suddenly approval for a vaccine candidate that is currently awaiting approval from Health Canada and we received an unforeseen amount, we do have, and we have built up through the last couple of months, the ability for us to have that surge capacity as well and certain innovations,” he said.
“Rapid flow-through clinics is going to be one opportunity for us if we ever do need that surge capacity we will do that.”
Shandro also said Alberta will go through pharmacies and family doctors as well as public health and Alberta Health Services once we have a “constant and steady supply of vaccines,” but didn’t provide details of what that might look like.
On Thursday, the federal government announced millions of additional vaccinations would be administered between April and September.
A total of 36 million Canadians were expected to be vaccinated by the end of September. Now that number has increased to 42 million people by the end of September.
“This is huge,” Gibney said.
“It’s obviously all been bad news up to now this potentially turns this around and gives us a chance to get Canadians vaccinated at a much faster rate than I think we had previously anticipated.
“It’s also really important, given the fact that we’re worried about these variants of the coronavirus.”
Alberta is expected to receive 46,800 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine before the weekend.
During the H1N1 pandemic in 2009, Alberta was able to vaccinate about 45 per cent of the population, Gibney said. In order to achieve herd immunity, upwards of 60 to 70 per cent of Albertans will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19.