COVID-19 pandemic in Alberta (March 15 update) 
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw, accompanied by Premier Jason Kenney, gives an update on COVID-19 in Alberta. Photo by Government of Alberta

COVID-19 vaccine likely available to Albertans in January, will be distributed in three phases

Vaccine won’t be widely available until the fall of 2021

A COVID-19 vaccine may soon be on the way for Albertans.

Premier Jason Kenney made the announcement Wednesday, as he reported an additional 1,685 COVID-19 cases in a daily press conference.

Kenney said that a vaccine could be available as early as Jan. 4, but won’t be widely available for most Albertans until the fall of 2021.

“I know people are frustrated, but this is evidence that there is light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.

The three-pronged approach from the government will start with select individuals being immunized.

During phase one over the first three months of 2021, the government anticipates they will be able to administer vaccines to approximately 435,000 Albertans – about 10 per cent of the population.

Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, which are still subject to approval by Health Canada, will need to be administered in two doses, separated by three to six weeks. Phase one of the vaccine includes priority groups like residents of long term care, seniors on reserves and health care workers.

“We are initially focusing on Albertans that are at the highest risk of severe outcomes from the virus or those who have critical roles in health care delivery,” said Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw.

Phase two will go from April to June and the government hopes to have 30 per cent of the population immunized. Exactly who would that be was not known Wednesday.

Phase three will include all Albertans and is expected to start in the fall of 2021.

“This is the unfortunate reality that Canadians across the country face and people around the world,” Kenney said, referring to the time frame of the vaccine roll out.

The premier also announced Deputy Minister Paul Winnick will lead the province’s vaccine task force.

The announcement came as the province’s COVID-19 test positivity rate continues to climb. Over the past 24 hours, 18,432 COVID-19 tests were completed, with a test positivity rate of 9.2 per cent.

In addition, Kenney said 504 people are in hospital, including 97 in the ICU. Five hundred and sixty one people have died in Alberta since the start of the pandemic.

Red Deer now has 269 active cases of the virus, while Red Deer County has 78 active. Sylvan Lake has 65 active cases of COVID-19 and Olds has 23. Lacombe County has 47 active cases and Lacombe has 39 active. Mountain View County sits at 18 active and Kneehill County has 11. Camrose has 80 active cases and Camrose County has 30 active.

Ponoka County, Wetaskiwin County and the City of Wetaskiwin combined have 276 active cases.

Hinshaw also reported that there are active alerts or outbreaks in 397 schools, about 17 per cent of all schools in the province. Those schools have a combined total 0f 1,537 active cases. That includes 210 schools with outbreaks, including 97 0n the watch list.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Volunteers participate in a work-bee at J.J. Collett Natural Area on March 27. (Photo Submitted)
J.J. Collett natural area proceeding with projects

The nature area appeared on a list of parks and nature areas that were “underutilized” by UCP

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada secured. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Alberta joins Ontario in lowering minimum age for AstraZeneca vaccine

More than 700,000 doses of AstraZeneca have been administered in this country

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta identifies 1,516 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday

Central zone has 1,849 active cases

A damaged unicorn statue is shown in a field outside of Delia, Alta. in this undated handout photo. It’s not often police can report that a unicorn has been found, but it was the truth Saturday when RCMP said a stolen, stainless-steel statue of the mythical beast had been located in a field not far from where he’d been taken. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Mounties get their unicorn; stolen statue of mythical beast found in Alberta field

Police are still looking for suspects, and have called in their forensics experts to help

There were six additional deaths across Alberta reported over the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 1,926 since the beginning of the pandemic. (File photo)
In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

The Rogers logo is photographed in Toronto on Monday, September 30, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Rogers investigating after wireless customers complain of widespread outage

According to Down Detector, problems are being reported in most major Canadian cities

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Nothing stopping provinces from offering AstraZeneca vaccine to all adults: Hajdu

Health Canada has licensed the AstraZeneca shot for use in people over the age of 18

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

A vial of some of the first 500,000 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada secured. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Canada’s 2nd blood clot confirmed in Alberta after AstraZeneca vaccine

The male patient, who is in his 60s, is said to be recovering

The funeral of Britain’s Prince Philip in Windsor, England, on Saturday, April 17, 2021. Philip died April 9 at the age of 99. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)
PHOTOS: Prince Philip laid to rest Saturday as sombre queen sits alone

The entire royal procession and funeral took place out of public view within the grounds of Windsor Castle

Most Read