Coronavirus Canada Updates: Alberta drops AstraZeneca vaccine eligibility to age 40

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Coronavirus Canada Updates: Quebec reports 178 new COVID-19 cases; 4th straight day with fewer than 200 infections

The provincial government has expanded the eligibility for AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine.

Beginning Tuesday, April 20, Albertans aged 40 or over will be able to get the AstraZeneca shot.

Participating pharmacies and Alberta Health Services will start booking appointments for those in the province born in 1981 or earlier. Walk-in vaccinations will be available at the walk-in clinics in Calgary and Edmonton, as well as specific pharmacies across Alberta.

The province notes that lowering the eligibility age means 575,425 more Albertans can be vaccinated. This will bring the total eligible population to 2.3 million.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro said, “with COVID-19 cases at high levels throughout the province, we are lowering the age eligibility for this vaccine so that as many Albertans as possible are able to choose the protection this vaccine offers.”

“The more people that get vaccinated as quickly as possible, the sooner we can protect our communities, reduce the burden on our healthcare system, and get life back to normal in our province.”

The Alberta Government’s decision to reduce the age for the AstraZeneca vaccine from 55 to 40 is based on public health recommendations, looking at the benefit the vaccine offers weighed against the small risk of adverse effects from the shot. The province notes that AstraZeneca’s vaccine has been shown to reduce infection by 60 to 70 per cent, as well as severe outcomes like hospitalization by 80 per cent.

Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw said, “I recommend any Albertan who is 40 or older consider getting the AstraZeneca vaccine as soon as possible. I know some Albertans have concerns about recent cases of blood clots.”

“This is understandable, and it is also important to remember that these cases are extremely rare. This vaccine helps prevent the much higher risks that come from COVID-19 infection, helping to protect both you and those around you.”

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