EDMONTON -- Alberta's top doctor reported 399 COVID-19 cases on Wednesday as the province began to roll out the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The latest case count included 47 variant infections, raising the total to 721 since December.

"While any cases of a variant of concern are worrying, so far we've been able to slow down the growth of these cases here in Alberta," Dr. Deena Hinshaw said.

Alberta had a positivity rate of 3.7 per cent on Tuesday after the province conducted just over 10,400 tests.

There are 4,463 cases across the province with 254 people in hospital, including 37 in ICU.


The AstraZeneca vaccine is now being offered to Albertans aged 50 to 64 and Indigenous people aged 35 to 49.

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AHS has experienced high demand for appointments, Hinshaw said, with 11,500 eligible people already booked for the AstraZeneca shot.

Dr. Hinshaw explained the AstraZeneca vaccine is not unsafe for people with chronic conditions, but that the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends them to get the Pfizer or Moderna shots for increased protection.

"If an individual who has a chronic condition wishes to receive AstraZeneca and they're in the appropriate age group, they could choose to do so."

Hinshaw added U.K. research shows the AstraZeneca vaccine is effective against severe infections.

AHS had administered 308,962 vaccine doses and fully immunized 91,259 people as of Tuesday.