Alberta COVID-19 News

Alberta to run out of COVID-19 vaccine imminently: Kenney

Alberta is going to run out of COVID-19 vaccine early this week due to a shipment delay from Pfizer. 

On Monday, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced the province will  run out of vaccine on Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning, resulting in  the province temporarily halting giving out more first doses of the  vaccine. 

“By the end of the day, or early tomorrow, Albertans will have no  more vaccine doses in storage to administer as first doses to  Albertans,” Kenney said. 

“We have quite simply run out of supply.”

So far, the province has given out almost 90,000 doses since  vaccinations started on Dec. 15, but now the province will be halting  any more first-dose appointments. 

Kenney said the second doses will continue as planned. 

“Second dose appointments will not be cancelled,” Kenney said. 

“We believe we can administer second doses to all those who need them within the recommended time frame.”

On Friday, Canadians learned doses of Pfizer vaccine would be reduced  for several weeks due to the Pfizer vaccine manufacturing  facility scaling up, which will result in a short period of shutdown on  the vaccine supply. All countries that receive vaccines from the  European facility will be facing the same delay. 

Tyler Shandro, Alberta minister of health, said Friday that Canada  will only receive 20 per cent of the previously expected Pfizer vaccine  this week, followed by a reduction of 80 per cent for one week and 50  per cent in the two weeks after. 

Shandro said this will force delays in getting the vaccine out ot Albertans. 

“This is unfortunate news and we are all disappointed. However, we will not stop,” Shandro said.

Shandro said the delay will slow down the immunization process of  priority health care workers in Phase 1 of the vaccine roll-out plan,  along with seniors over the age of 75 and all Indigenous seniors living  on reserve over the of 65.

Kenney said by Monday seniors in all of Alberta’s 375 long-term care  and designated supported living facilities had received their first  round of vaccinations, but further vaccinations of Phase 1 groups will  be delayed. 

“This means the planned vaccination of First Nations and  Métis individuals over the age of 65, and seniors broadly over the age  of 75, has been put on hold,” Kenney said. 

The province had hoped to start vaccinations of priority seniors next week. 

Shandro said the province is going to continue to increase vaccine  capacity, including staff and locations, across the province so the  sites are ready to hit the ground running when the vaccine shipments  come in. By the end of January, the province will be prepared to hand  out 50,000 doses a week, if not more, Shandro said. 

According to the federal government, the most profound impact on the  supply will be during the week of Jan. 25, where it is expected to drop  by 80 per cent. The vaccine creation will scale back up in the first two  weeks of February and then return to what was expected after that.

By Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter / St. Albert Gazette