Alberta to offer 3rd COVID-19 vaccine doses to immunocompromised, people living in congregate care

Third doses of COVID-19 vaccines will be available to all seniors living in congregate care, immunocompromised Albertans, as well as some travellers later this week.

The government made the announcement Monday afternoon via a news release, as Alberta recorded more than 3,000 new cases of the disease over the last three days. (Monday’s full COVID-19 data below).

The third doses will be offered beginning Sept. 1. In a news release Monday afternoon, Alberta Health said receiving a third dose of vaccine will boost immunity levels and improve protection for all seniors living in congregate care facilities and those who have compromised immune systems (qualifying conditions below).

“The data shows that additional doses will offer stronger protection for immunocompromised individuals and older Albertans living in supportive living facilities,” chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said in a news release.

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“Just as we offered these individuals earlier access to COVID-19 vaccines and a shorter four-week interval between doses, we will continue to work to protect all Albertans as new data emerges. However, the best way for us to protect each other is still for as many people as possible to be fully immunized.”

Read more: COVID-19: Quebec Health Department recommends third vaccine dose for immunocompromised

The move follows similar approaches taken in other jurisdictions, including other provinces in Canada.

“We have always relied on the latest research to guide our decision-making, and now that evidence shows immunocompromised individuals and seniors in congregate care will benefit from getting a third dose, we are pleased to provide them,” Health Minister Tyler Shandro said in a news release.

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Seniors who live in congregate care facilities will be eligible for their third dose approximately five months after their second dose, the province said. They will receive their third dose at their facility.

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People with the following conditions will be eligible for a third dose of vaccine at least eight weeks after their second dose:

  • Transplant recipients, including solid organ transplants and hematopoietic stem cell transplants
  • Individuals with chronic kidney disease who are receiving regular dialysis
  • Individuals in active cancer treatment (chemotherapy, immunotherapy or targeted therapies) excluding those receiving only hormonal therapy, radiation therapy or surgery
  • Individuals on certain medications for autoimmune diseases, including rituximab, ocrelizumab and ofatumumab

The province said about 118,000 Albertans will be eligible for a third dose based on being immunocompromised (60,000 people) or living in a congregate care centre (58,000 Albertans).

Read more: WHO’s EU head backs COVID-19 boosters — but only for the vulnerable

In addition, the province will offer mRNA vaccines to Albertans who are travelling to a jurisdiction that does not accept visitors who have been vaccinated with the Covishield/AstraZeneca vaccine or those who received mixed doses.

The province stressed that Albertans with two valid doses of any vaccine used in the province are considered to have received a complete series of vaccine. However, there are some places outside of Canada that will not accept visitors who have been vaccinated with the Covishield/AstraZeneca vaccine or mixed doses.

Alberta Health said additional mRNA doses will be made available at least 28 days after a second dose to Albertans who are travelling to a jurisdiction that does not accept visitors who have been vaccinated with Covishield/AstraZeneca or mixed doses.

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COVID-19 data for the last 3 days

Over the last three days, Alberta recorded 3,056 new cases of COVID-19. That breaks down to 1,231 cases on Aug. 27, 960 on Aug. 28 and 865 on Aug. 29.

There are now 401 people in hospital with COVID-19 in Alberta, with 98 of those people being treated in intensive care. Over the past three days, an additional 65 people have been hospitalized for COVID-19 treatment.

In a tweet, Hinshaw said of the 303 patients not admitted to ICU, 79.6 per cent are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated. Of the 98 people in ICU, 94.2 per cent are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.

There are now 11,426 active cases of COVID-19 in Alberta. Of those, 3,571 are in the Edmonton zone, 3,193 are in the Calgary zone, 2,111 are in the North zone, 1,304 are in the Central zone, 1,198 are in the South zone and 49 are not tied to any specific zone.

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Read more: Masks will be mandatory in all indoor spaces in Edmonton this Friday

An additional seven deaths were reported to Alberta Health since Aug. 26, bringing the province’s death toll to 2,371.

A woman in her 50s and a woman in her 90s died in the North zone. A man in his 80s died in the Central zone. A man in his 70s and two women in their 80s died in the Edmonton zone. A man in his 70s died in the South zone. Alberta Health said all seven deaths included comorbidities.

As of Sunday, 77.9 per cent of Albertans 12 and older had received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 69.7 per cent were fully vaccinated.

COVID-19 vaccines are eligible to all Albertans 12 and older. Vaccine appointments can be booked online or by calling 811.

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