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Alberta expands access to 4th doses of COVID 19 vaccines

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WATCH ABOVE: Alberta is expanding who is eligible for a fourth dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. As Lauren Pullen reports, it comes as cases and hospitalizations begin to climb again. – Apr 6, 2022

Alberta is expanding eligibility requirements for a fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

Beginning Tuesday, those who are ages 70 and older as well as First Nations, Métis and Inuit people 65 and older can get the second booster shot.

The province says all seniors in congregate care, regardless of age, can also receive the dose.

Read more: Here’s who is eligible for a 4th COVID-19 vaccine across Canada

Health Minister Jason Copping said in a release Wednesday that the number of COVID-19-positive patients in hospital remains stable. However, he said the Omicron subvariant BA.2 now makes up about 80 per cent of new cases in Alberta, bringing the potential for increased transmission and some increase in admissions.

Copping said the province is well-positioned to manage any increase in hospital admissions but urged people to protect themselves.

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“Albertans have access to vaccines and antiviral treatments for protection against severe outcomes,” Copping said.

“I encourage everyone to get vaccinated with every dose you’re eligible for and to stay home if you’re feeling unwell.”

Eligible people can book their fourth dose provided at least five months have passed since their third.

READ MORE: COVID-19 in Alberta: 990 people in hospital as of Wednesday

The United Conservative Party government’s announcement follows a recommendation from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization.

Earlier Wednesday, Manitoba expanded eligibility requirements for people to get a second booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Those eligible include residents of personal care homes and in congregate settings, such as supportive housing and assisted living facilities. People ages 70 and older, as well as First Nations, Inuit and Métis people 50 and older, are also eligible.

Ontario will allow residents aged 60 and older to make fourth-dose appointments as of Thursday and Quebec will follow suit next week.

British Columbia is offering a fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccines to seniors, starting with residents of long-term care and assisted-living homes as the level of protection since their last shot up to six months ago is waning.

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B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Tuesday that people over age 70 in the community, Indigenous people 55 and up and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable will also be included in a vaccination campaign that will ramp up through the spring.

The Alberta government said it would also offer residents more vaccine choice

Starting April 12, the province said it would receive 10,000 doses of Novavax’s Nuvaxovid, a two-dose protein subunit vaccine that does not use mRNA technology and is approved for those 18 and older.

The province said it will also expand eligibility for the antiviral drug Paxlovid. This will include First Nations, Métis and Inuit people age 45 and older who are unvaccinated or have received only one dose of vaccine and individuals living in long-term care and designated supportive living settings, regardless of vaccination status.

People previously eligible included those who are immunocompromised, regardless of vaccination status.

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