EDMONTON -- The next phase of COVID-19 vaccinations in Alberta will begin Monday with more health-care workers being eligible to receive their immunization.

Phase 2C begins Monday with health-care workers providing in-person direct patient care age 18 and older being able to book appointments for their vaccination.

This will include community physicians, paramedics, dentists, dental hygienists, chiropractors, optometrists, nurses, post-secondary students completing health-related practicums, addictions counsellors, massage therapists, and all other professionals.

Additionally, office or support staff working alongside these healthcare professionals like receptionists, cleaning, and security staff will be eligible.

Premier Jason Kenney introduced the next phase of vaccinations on Saturday at a press conference where he and Education Minister Adriana LaGrange announced the expansion to the province's rapid testing program for junior and senior high schools.

“These health-care workers care for Albertans when they are most vulnerable,” Kenney said. “By vaccinating them now we’ll help to prevent COVID-19 from spreading to those at highest risk of severe outcomes.”

He added that this will mean more than 1.7 million Albertans will be eligible for the vaccine.

“To all of them I say, if you haven’t done so yet please go out and make your appointments and book as quick as you can. Pharmacies and Alberta Health Services (AHS) staff are ready.”

For Kenney, ensuring that both health-care professionals and the support staff working alongside them are vaccinated will provide complete healthcare system coverage.

Phase 2B of vaccine rollout began Wednesday with residents between the ages of 16 and 64 who have a medical history that includes cancer treatment, transplant surgery, dementia, disability, or pregnancy among other conditions

Appointments can be made online through AHS or by calling Healthlink at 811.

Kenney said that those who are not eligible yet for vaccines should remain patient and that their “time is coming.”

The province expects an average of 100,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines shipped per week for the next three months.

“If these shipments show up like they’re supposed to, we will be offering every adult their first dose by the end of June if not sooner,” Kenney said.

The greatest limit to vaccine rollout so far is the lack of timely and predictable amounts of doses being delivered, Kenney said.

“We are forging ahead using up whatever supplies we get to protect as many Albertans as possible as fast as we can,” he added. “Every dose we deliver gets us closer to getting back to normal.”

According to Kenney, approximately 818,000 doses of the vaccine have been administered in Alberta.