EDMONTON -- Alberta is ramping up its vaccination efforts as COVID-19 variant cases are still rising.

On Tuesday, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw reported 355 new cases of the coronavirus, including 61 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant and one of the B.1.351 variant.

She said 509 of Alberta's 4,776 active cases, or 11 per cent, are of the variants of concern, and that Alberta Health Services is screening for them in every positive test.

"While we have prevented any significant spread in Alberta so far, the percentage of variants in our active cases is rising," Hinshaw said.

"Our aggressive screening, dedicated contact tracing and other measures have been buying time for the vaccines to work. In some ways, there is a race between the variants and the vaccines."

As of Monday, AHS had administered nearly 380,000 doses and fully immunized almost 92,000 people.

Hinshaw explained the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines are effective against the variant first identified in the U.K., and that Moderna's shot, which is similar to Pfizer's, is also expected to work.

"Widespread vaccination will also be fundamental to helping us all get back to a sense of normalcy, closer to what life was before COVID-19," she said.

Dr. Hinshaw will give another update Wednesday afternoon.