How do I get the coronavirus vaccine in Edmonton?
Published Wednesday, February 24, 2021 1:46PM MST Last Updated Thursday, May 6, 2021 7:40AM MDT
EDMONTON -- Alberta began its COVID-19 immunization program in December 2020. There are four COVID-19 vaccines authorized by Health Canada: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson).
The vaccines are being made available to Albertans in stages. Here's what you need to know.
WHO CAN GET VACCINATED RIGHT NOW?
Alberta entered Phase 3 of its COVID-19 immunization program on May 6, opening bookings to residents born in 1991 or earlier.
The next stage of offering vaccine to the general public will begin May 10, when all Albertans born 2009 to 1992 become eligible.
WHO IS NEXT IN LINE?
Phase 3 is expected to take several weeks. Premier Jason Kenney has promised every adult will have been offered at least one dose by the end of June.
HOW WILL I FIND OUT WHEN I CAN RECEIVE THE VACCINE?
The Alberta government provides updated information about its vaccine program online and announces new openings or changes.
Albertans can sign up to receive an email notification when it is their turn to book an appointment, or to be notified of timeline changes.
WHERE DO I SIGN UP?
Albertans can register for a shot from AHS online or by calling Health Link at 811.
Pharmacies began offering Moderna and Pfizer shots March 15. The list of participating locations, which includes more than 250 now, is found online at Alberta Blue Cross.
Bookings through AHS open according to birth year.
Vaccine appointments cannot be made by contacting clinics or hospitals.
Albertans can book an appointment on behalf of someone else.
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW BEFORE REGISTERING?
Moderna and Pfizer are 80 to 90 per cent effective in preventing severe illness and death, while AstraZeneca was originally said to be about 60 to 70 per cent effective in reducing infection and 80 per cent effective in preventing severe illness and death.
Alberta joined several other provinces on March 29 in suspending AstraZeneca's use for people under 55 following a recommendation from Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization, then lowered the restriction to people aged 40 and older. The advice came after more reports that patients in Europe developed blood clots after receiving the AstraZeneca shot, a disorder known as vaccine-induced prothrombotic immune thrombocytopenia (VIPIT). The age recommendation was again lowered to 30 on advice from the national vaccine panel. Authorities have identified vaccine-linked blood clots in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Alberta, but assure the public the risk posed by COVID-19 is greater than that posed by vaccines.
Only the Pfizer product is available to minors 12 years and older, as approved by Health Canada on May 5. That same day, Alberta announced it would soon open age eligibility that young.
Additionally, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or are immunocompromised or have an auto-immune disorder, it is advised to talk to your doctor before getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
Currently, vaccine is not being offered to children under the age of 16 without underlying health conditions, or Albertans with a severe allergy to an ingredient.
Vaccine is free. Alberta Health Services has warned any ask of payment for a COVID-19 vaccine may be a scam.
WHO HAS ALREADY RECEIVED THE VACCINE?
As of May 4, about 1.7 million doses of vaccine had been administered and some 305,000 Albertans were fully immunized with two shots.
Prioritized frontline workers plus staff and residents of long-term care and supportive living homes were offered the shot first. Next, the shot was offered to people aged 75 years and older. First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people 65 and older living in a First Nations community or Métis Settlement were also eligible.
Under Phase 2, Alberta began offering COVID-19 vaccine by birth year, and to staff and residents of licensed seniors supportive living facilities excluded from Phase 1, as well as people over 16 with underlying conditions.
Alberta wrapped up Phase 2 of vaccinations by beginning stages 2C on April 12 and 2D on April 30. Phase 2C included health care professionals and their office or support staff who provide in-person, direct patient care could make an appointment. This includes physicians, nurses and pharmacists, as well as workers at in-patient care facilities providing direct care in the community through Alberta Health Services, Covenant Health, Alberta Precision Labs, DynaLife, and clinical practicum students. Phase 2D made eligible Albertans born 1957 to 1971 (or, aged 50 to 64) and Indigneous people born between 1971 and 1986 (or, aged 35 to 49).
Younger Albertans, turning 30 or older this year, in COVID-19 hotspots Fort McMuray and Banff were granted early access to the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson shots as supply arrived at the end of April and beginning of May.
As well, teens born between 2006 and 2009 who have underlying health conditions have already been offered the Pfizer product in Alberta.
WHERE ARE THE VACCINES BEING DISTRIBUTED?
The vaccines are administered at dozens of sites across the province equipped to store the product in cold temperatures, including some pharmacies.
The list of participating locations, which includes more than 250 now, is found online at Alberta Blue Cross.
WHAT SHOULD I BRING TO MY APPOINTMENT?
Government-issued ID and your Alberta Health Care number will be required at the appointment.
HOW CAN I GET TO MY VACCINATION SITE?
Appointment time and clinic location will be provided during the booking process.
If an Albertan cannot drive or get a ride to an appointment, they can call 211 to learn about available transportation supports.
You can bring a support person to an appointment if you require assistance. They must adhere to public health measures. That does not make them eligible for the vaccine.
WHEN DO I GET MY SECOND DOSE?
Given evidence suggests first doses of vaccine are at least 80 per cent effective at preventing severe illness, starting March 10, Alberta decided to administer second doses up to four months later.
The change is intended to help offer a first dose of vaccine to all Albertans over 18 by the end of June, and is in line with decisions made by other Canadian provinces.
Anyone who received their first dose before March 10 will still receive their second dose within 42 days and all existing second-dose appointments will be honoured.
First and second-dose appointments are booked separately. Albertans will receive reminders to book a second appointment.
Officials say while those who have received one shot are less likely to become sick with COVID-19, it is not known if one shot prevents a person from transmitting the disease. Albertans who received their first shot will still need to follow public health measures.
WHO DO I CONTACT IF I HAVE QUESTIONS?
More information is available through Health Link or at: