Albertans 12 and over can now get the COVID-19 vaccine after the province opened eligibility to that age group on Monday.
Beginning at 8 a.m., anyone born in 2009 or earlier was eligible to get the vaccine, meaning 11 year olds who turn 12 this year also qualify.
As of 1:45 p.m., Alberta Health Services said 100,000 appointments had been booked through its system.
According to some on Twitter, the line to book an appointment reached more than 57,000 at one point, with some parents saying the wait was over one hour and 20 minutes.
But there was a sense of excitement and relief online as parents shared stories of getting their kids appointments or, in some cases, their kids getting up early to book their own appointments.
Dr. Darren Markland, an ICU doctor at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton, tweeted Monday morning that his teens were up bright and early attempting to book their appointments.
“It’s 7:55 and my teenagers who rarely get up before noon set their alarms to get up on time and are on the phone and computer working together to secure appointments to get vaccinated,” Darren wrote.
His 17-year-old son Aidan logged on to the AHS booking website and saw more than 50,000 people already in line. He called his local pharmacy and was able to get an appointment for this Thursday.
“So I’m getting my vaccine right away, which is fantastic.”
Living in a house with two doctors — his mother is also a physician — has encouraged Aidan to get his vaccine as soon as possible. According to the teen, it’s his responsibility to be vaccinated.
“I don’t want to run the risk of catching COVID. Even though I’m young, I’m really healthy, active too, it’s just something I – there’s possible complications. And even if there isn’t, it’s just something I’d rather avoid.”
While his high school graduation will look different this year, having the vaccine gives Aidan hope for the future as he prepares to head to university with the goal of becoming a lawyer.
“I want to experience my first year of university properly.”
As of Monday, 3.8 million Albertans are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the province.