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COVID-19 vaccine shortage: Minister Shandro

Provincial Press Release January 19, 2021 @ 4:15pm published at 4:42pm

Minister of Health Tyler Shandro issued the following statement on the latest changes in the amount of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine coming to Canada:

“I am extremely concerned by the announcement that Pfizer is even further decreasing the amount of COVID-19 vaccine coming to Canada from its factory in Belgium, with no doses expected to arrive next week and further anticipated reductions in the two weeks following. “As of Jan. 18, 92,315 doses have been administered across our province, making Alberta one of the fastest and most dynamic providers of vaccinations in Canada. But today’s latest news from Ottawa is yet another setback for the delivery of vaccines to Alberta.

“With fewer vaccines arriving, we have no choice but to focus on delivering second doses for those who have already been vaccinated. All new first dose appointments for eligible health-care workers are being postponed. Some second dose appointments will also need to be rescheduled in the coming weeks.

“Vaccine has been reserved to ensure that we are able to provide second doses to all long-term care and designated supportive living residents. At this time, we believe Alberta Health Services will also be able to provide second doses to health-care workers within the established window; however, some uncertainty exists because it is unknown how much vaccine will be received by Canada in the first two weeks of February.

“A sharp decrease in vaccines coming to Alberta may also further delay our plans to expand vaccination to all seniors over the age of 75 in the community and individuals over the age of 65 in First Nations communities and Metis Settlements around the province.

“We would like to vaccinate many, many more Albertans as soon as possible, but we need more vaccines. Alberta has the capacity to deliver about 50,000 doses per week and rapidly expand distribution, but we lack supply. Whether we like it or not, Canadian provinces are dependent on the Government of Canada for vaccine supply. We continue to advocate to our federal partners to increase the supply of vaccine as soon as possible.

“This is frustrating, but the factory issues in Belgium are out of our control. We will continue to use what we have to protect as many Albertans as possible. And we will continue to inform Albertans of any changes to our vaccination plans.”

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