Robert Coles received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on February 26 from Public Health Nurse Carrie Affolter in Cold Lake.  ALBERTA HEALTH SERVICES

Alberta’s Covid-19 vaccination plan moves into Phase 2 on March 10.

Albertans aged 50 to 64 who do not have a severe chronic illness can receive the Covishield/AstraZeneca vaccine early, or wait until Phase 2D begins in May to receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine

Appointment bookings will be announced in stages, while supply lasts. Those born in 1957 can book starting March 10. Alberta Health Services (AHS) will announce eligibility in the days that follow for those born between 1958 and 1971.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines scored high efficacy ratings of more than 90 per cent in clinical trials. AstraZeneca showed 62 per cent and the recently-approved Johnson and Johnson vaccine showed 72 per cent.

Experts are advising that those ratings are not the most relevant information when deciding whether to take one product or another.

All four vaccines were equally effective—100 per cent—at
preventing hospitalization and death from Covid-19.

Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti, an infectious disease specialist in Mississauga, Ontario, was quoted in a story by Melissa Couto Zuber of Canadian Press as saying the success rate of all of the vaccines is “freaking amazing.”

“Thousands of participants in the treatment arm of the trials, and not a single person died, not a single person was hospitalized,” he said.

Diana Rinne, spokesperson for AHS North Zone, said last week that there are 67 AHS immunization clinics located in a mix of facilities across the province where Albertans can book appointments for COVID-19 immunization. “This number fluctuates and more clinics are being planned,” she said.

Eligible Albertans can book their appointments using the AHS website or by calling Health Link at 811. There are no drop-in clinics for COVID-19 immunization.

“We ask that Albertans please be patient if you are waiting to book your vaccine appointment,” Rinne said. “The AHS online immunization booking tool and Health Link are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The combined booking system of ahs.ca/covidvaccine and 811 Health Link system can take approximately 5,000 bookings an hour.”

Once someone has booked their appointment with AHS, they will be provided with a confirmation with the location, date and time for their first and second dose appointment. One piece of identification is required—an Alberta Health Care card, driver’s license, Social Insurance Number, birth certificate, or passport. 

“Please wear clothing that will easily allow access to your upper arm for receiving the immunization,” Rinne said.

Phase 2 (Group A) recipients will be able to book appointments beginning March 15. This includes staff and residents of licensed supportive living (seniors) not included in Phase 1; First Nations, Inuit and Métis people aged 50 and older, no matter where they live; and Albertans aged 65 to 74, no matter where they live. 

These booking dates will open by year of birth, one year at a time, to reduce wait times. AHS will announce the exact dates the week of March 15.