At a news conference to provide an update on the COVID-19 situation in the province, Premier Jason Kenney announced Wednesday that more Albertans will be eligible to get a third dose of a vaccine as of Monday, Nov. 8.
Those aged 70 and older — with at least six months past their second dose — will now be eligible to get a booster vaccination.
The premier also said “health-care workers providing direct patient care who received their second dose less than eight weeks after their first dose (will be eligible for the booster shot) because the data shows that the closer the interval, then perhaps, the less durable the protection of those vaccines.”
Kenney said health-care workers who have received only viral vector vaccines, “for example, two doses of AstraZeneca vaccine,” will now also be eligible for the additional dose.
Also eligible for the booster shot will be all First Nations, Inuit and Métis people aged 18 and older for whom it has been at least six months since their second dose.
“Some may ask why are we making this more generally available to the First Nations, Indigenous communities at 18 and above?” Kenney said. “Well, the data sadly shows that Indigenous people have suffered significantly worse outcomes from COVID-19 than the general upward of population and this is a reflection of that higher level of risk.
“We want to provide that protection to anybody who might have an elevated risk level.”
Kenney said the expansion of eligibility for additional doses follows the latest scientific recommendations from not only the National Advisory Committee on Immunization but also the Alberta Advisory Committee on Immunization.
Wednesday’s daily COVID-19 numbers
As of Wednesday afternoon, chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said there was a “sharp decline” in case counts throughout the province.
“We have passed the peak of the fourth wave thanks to the targeted public health measures we have in place and our rising immunization rates as more eligible Albertans choose to be immunized,” Hinshaw said.
New cases dipped below the 500 mark, at 487 new cases from roughly 10,300 tests.
There are currently 184 schools on active alerts or outbreaks in the province. Of those, four schools had 10 or more COVID-19 cases who attended school during the last two weeks while infectious.
Currently, 697 people are being treated for COVID-19 in hospital, which includes 155 people in intensive care.
Fourteen new deaths were also reported.
There were 6,693 active cases in Alberta on Wednesday.