Two walk-in clinics opened on Saturday in Calgary and Edmonton that offer the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to people ages 55 to 64, but some people say the government should be expanding the rollout to younger people who want it now.
The Southport walk-in clinic in at 10301 Southport Lane S.W. in Calgary is now offering the AstraZeneca vaccine without an appointment. It will operate from Saturday to Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. The clinic will be expanded subject to vaccine availability and demand.
The Edmonton clinic is at 7515 118 Avenue N.W. and will operate:
- April 17-18: 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
- April 19-20: 12:30 p.m. to 6:45 p.m.
- April 21: 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Sandy Anderson was walking by the Southport clinic, which appeared fairly quiet, Saturday morning.
“It’s sad to see this. We should be out there promoting it,” said Anderson, who already received her first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.
She thinks it makes more sense to offer the vaccine to a wider range of people.
“You’ve got Superstore here, you have Value Village (near Southport clinic). There are all sorts of people who are out there who are at risk, so open it up. Don’t say 55 plus. Open it up wider so people can start coming in and getting it,” Anderson said.
Melinda Pokolinski is a Calgary elementary school teacher who doesn’t care what vaccine she gets. Pokolinski hopes the province will start offering it to people with higher-risk jobs and younger people.
“I think people who want to get them, it should be opened up for them. I am a teacher, and I am around COVID, and my son is in Grade 4, so he is around it. I think that we should be able to get the vaccines quite a bit sooner, considering they have them available, and the places that are available aren’t filling up,” Pokolinski said.
“I just want to get vaccinated. I want us to get back to normal.”
Ken Boyechko tried to get his second AstraZeneca dose on Saturday at the Southport clinic but was told it was only for first shots.
“I didn’t have any side effects from it the first time or anything. I think the sooner everybody gets this done, the sooner we can get back to living our lives,” Boyechko said.
On Saturday, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said that discussions are underway about expanding the age range.
“As the risk of exposure rises, the benefits a vaccine can provide also rise, so we are having exactly those conversations to determine the best age group to be able to provide additional protection to more people, but decisions have not yet been finalized,” Hinshaw said.
Hinshaw said she recognizes the urgency of the issue and said a decision, based on the best current evidence, is expected in the near future.
For a list of pharmacies accepting walk-ins, as well as those taking appointment-based bookings, visit the Alberta Blue Cross website.