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Anyone 50+ can book COVID-19 vaccine Friday as Alberta expands eligibility

Click to play video: 'Alberta expands COVID-19 vaccine rollout starting Friday' Alberta expands COVID-19 vaccine rollout starting Friday
WATCH: Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announces the province will be expanding its COVID-19 vaccine rollout program and residents in Phase 2C can start booking Friday. – Apr 29, 2021

Effective Friday, Alberta is expanding COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to those in the rest of Phase 2C and 2D, including any Albertan 50 or over, any First Nations, Métis and Inuit Albertan 35 or older, and firefighters.

The province says that will mean, as of April 30, more than 650,000 Albertans can book appointments at participating pharmacies, 811 or Alberta Health Services clinics.

Read more: Alberta reveals who’s eligible for Phase 2B and 2C of COVID-19 vaccine rollout

The following people are eligible under Phase 2C and 2D:

  • Staff and residents who provide care or support to Albertans in facilities previously not offered immunization, including front-line disability workers and workers in group homes, mental health or addiction treatment, children and youth group care, and campus-based care like secure services and other types of licensed supportive living.
  • Caregivers of Albertans who are most at risk of severe outcomes, including:
    • Designated family support people of those individuals in long-term care, designated supportive living and licensed supportive living facilities.
    • Household contacts and caregivers to those who have profoundly immunocompromised conditions.
    • Parents or guardians of children under 12 who have an eligible chronic condition (Phase 2B) but are unable to receive vaccine due to age.
    • Front-line policing and provincial sheriffs who interact with residents at shelters, correctional facilities and remand centres, Canadian Border Security Agency staff and firefighters.
  • Albertans between the ages of 50 and 64.
  • First Nations, Métis and Inuit between the ages of 35 and 49.
Click to play video: 'City deems Calgary firefighters eligible for COVID-19 vaccine after Phase 2C omission' City deems Calgary firefighters eligible for COVID-19 vaccine after Phase 2C omission
City deems Calgary firefighters eligible for COVID-19 vaccine after Phase 2C omission – Apr 27, 2021

The president of the Alberta Fire Fighters Association issued a statement Thursday thanking the province for including its members in this phase.

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“Forty-five per cent of calls that firefighters in Alberta respond to require us to administer some kind of medical first response,” Brad Readman said.

“Making sure we are vaccinated protects not only the firefighters out on calls but also the public that we serve.”

In his statement, Readman also thanked the public and members of different fire services and fire chiefs for pushing the government to prioritize firefighters.

Read more: City deems Calgary firefighters eligible for COVID-19 vaccine after Phase 2C omission

AHS will contact eligible home care individuals for their immunizations, or individuals can call 811 to discuss options, the province said in a news release Thursday.

Click to play video: 'Alberta expanding COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to rest of Phase 2C and 2D' Alberta expanding COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to rest of Phase 2C and 2D
Alberta expanding COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to rest of Phase 2C and 2D – Apr 29, 2021

Proof of eligibility is required for immunization of staff of eligible facilities and designated support persons, including:

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  • Staff of congregate facilities, proof of employment (such as a letter from their employer).
  • Designated family support persons, a letter from the congregate living facility (e.g., group home, specialty schools, etc.) is required.

An honour system approach will be used for household contacts of profoundly immunocompromised individuals and children under 12 with high-risk medical conditions, the province said.

Click to play video: 'Hinshaw encourages Albertans previously infected with COVID-19 to still get vaccinated' Hinshaw encourages Albertans previously infected with COVID-19 to still get vaccinated
Hinshaw encourages Albertans previously infected with COVID-19 to still get vaccinated – Apr 27, 2021

The government said, with this expansion, more than 2.8 million Albertans will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

“By opening up the rest of Phase 2C, as well as Phase 2D, we are now able to offer vaccines to another half a million Albertans,” Premier Jason Kenney said.

“Every day, we are protecting more vulnerable Albertans. Soon, we will be able to go on to protect all adult Albertans in Phase 3, as long as we receive the vaccine supply we’ve been promised.”

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As of April 27, 1,497,256 doses of vaccine have been administered in Alberta.

Read more: Alberta introduces targeted restrictions in ‘hot spots’ as active COVID-19 cases reach all-time high

Anyone eligible in Phase 1, 2A, 2B or the first part of 2C continue to be eligible and the province is encouraging them to book vaccination appointments.

The province said details about Phase 3 of the rollout will be released “in the coming weeks.”

Click to play video: 'COVID-19 vaccinations begin at two Alberta meat-packing plants' COVID-19 vaccinations begin at two Alberta meat-packing plants
COVID-19 vaccinations begin at two Alberta meat-packing plants – Apr 29, 2021

On Thursday, Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Alberta had identified 2,048 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, which is a record for most cases reported in one day.

Over the same time period, 20,500 tests were completed, putting Alberta’s positivity rate at 10.1 per cent.

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She said more than 1,300 cases involving variants of concern were identified.

Alberta currently has 21,385 active COVID-19 cases, the premier said, the highest number since the pandemic began in March 2020.

Of those active cases, 62 per cent are variants.

There are 632 Albertans in hospital with COVID-19 and 151 in ICU.

Three additional deaths were reported to Alberta Health in the last 24 hours. All three included comorbidities.

As of Wednesday, 1,528,569 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered and 292,765 Albertans were fully immunized.

Click to play video: 'Kenney announces changes COVID-19 vaccine strategy to target hardest-hit communities' Kenney announces changes COVID-19 vaccine strategy to target hardest-hit communities
Kenney announces changes COVID-19 vaccine strategy to target hardest-hit communities – Apr 28, 2021

In a news conference Wednesday, Kenney announced changes to vaccine rollout for the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and Banff, the two regions experiencing the highest rates of COVID-19 in Alberta.

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Alberta’s Johnson & Johnson vaccine shipment, expected to be received next Monday, will be directed to the two regions.

READ MORE: Banff mayor sees increased need for COVID-19 vaccinations in younger demographics

An eligibility age of 30+ years will be set for AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson for those regions. The current age for AstraZeneca eligibility is 40+ years in Alberta.

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