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‘Very likely’ Albertans will get 2nd dose of COVID-19 vaccine before 16 weeks: Hinshaw

Click to play video: 'Hinshaw says it’s ‘very likely’ COVID-19 vaccine intervals will be shorter than 4 months' Hinshaw says it’s ‘very likely’ COVID-19 vaccine intervals will be shorter than 4 months
Dr. Deena Hinshaw says with the recent announcement of an expanded COVID-19 rollout, along with increased supply, it’s very likely the interval between the first and second doses will be shorter than four months for Albertans. – May 6, 2021

It is likely Albertans could see earlier second doses of their COVID-19 vaccine, according to the province’s chief medical officer of health.

The province is currently spacing doses out up to 16 weeks apart; the move was made to get as many first doses into arms as possible but it has been met with some criticism from experts who say there is no clinical data for that extended dosing schedule.

READ MORE: Alberta to start extending time between COVID-19 vaccine doses as 1st variant outbreak declared

On Thursday, Dr. Deena Hinshaw said as soon as the province is done offering first doses to all Albertans who are eligible and want it, it will start offering second doses.

Hinshaw said there is increased supply coming to Alberta over the next several months and pointed to how, on Monday, bookings will open to those 12 and up.

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“Once we finish offering to all those individuals, we will of course be moving on to second doses so it’s very likely that the interval will be shorter than four months,” she said.

“The four-month interval was always a maximum. We were never planning to require a wait of four months. It was really about, we would not have anyone go beyond four months, but if we can offer it sooner, we will.”

Click to play video: 'More patients now asking about getting 2nd doses of COVID-19 vaccines in Alberta' More patients now asking about getting 2nd doses of COVID-19 vaccines in Alberta
More patients now asking about getting 2nd doses of COVID-19 vaccines in Alberta – Apr 21, 2021

Global News asked Alberta Health for clarification on how and when the province could move on to second doses, including whether certain thresholds for bookings or vaccination uptake must be met.

“Once more vaccines have arrived and more Albertans are immunized, we will shorten the 16-week timeline when possible,” said spokesperson Tom McMillan.

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READ MORE: Alberta shortens interval between COVID-19 vaccine doses for vulnerable patients

The province is already offering a shorter dosing schedule for vulnerable Albertans who are transplant recipients, receiving active treatment (chemotherapy, targeted therapies, immunotherapy) or being treated with an anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody such as Rituximab.

Click to play video: 'Alberta introduces shorter COVID-19 vaccine intervals for vulnerable patients' Alberta introduces shorter COVID-19 vaccine intervals for vulnerable patients
Alberta introduces shorter COVID-19 vaccine intervals for vulnerable patients – Apr 22, 2021

The change to 16 weeks between doses was recommended by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, which cited evidence that there was protection against serious infection or death was present after one dose.

Read more: Canada ‘very closely’ watching data on mixing and matching COVID-19 vaccines

“We’ve seen research from other jurisdictions that indicates one dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine offers a huge boost in immunity, with Canadian data indicating about 80 per cent protection after the first dose,” Hinshaw said on March 3.

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-with files from Kirby Bourne

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