Albertans over 60 can start signing up for booster shots Thursday and it is hoped by early next year all adults can get a third shot.
Health Minister Jason Copping announced on Wednesday that Albertans over 60 can book a booster dose of mRNA vaccine six months after receiving their second dose. First appointments will be available on Monday.
By early next year, it is hoped Albertans 18 and older will be able to get a booster six months after their last shot. How quickly that will happen will depend on how many appointments are made and the availability of vaccine.
“Going forward we will open up bookings to additional age groups as long as we have supply,” he said.
Alberta has 40,000 booster doses but has already asked the federal government for additional supplies, he said.
Copping said just over 84 per cent of Albertans 12 and older have been fully vaccinated and 89 per cent have had at least one shot.
Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said two more cases of the omicron variant have been identified. Three have now been identified in Alberta.
The variant was identified in someone who had recently travelled from South Africa and the Netherlands and a close household contact. They are isolating and exhibiting mild symptoms.
The province now has 424 COVID patients in hospital with 79 in intensive care.
While the numbers are coming down, Hinshaw said they are still high and double the number of patients who would be in intensive care in a regular influenza season.
The number of active COVID-19 cases in Red Deer changed little on Wednesday.
There are 111 active cases in the city, up one from Tuesday’s update, according to geospatial mapping on the provincial government’s website. There are 83 deaths reported in the city, the same as in Tuesday’s update.
Red Deer has also recorded 9,405 recovered cases since the beginning of the pandemic.
The Government of Alberta identified 430 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday as well as seven deaths, bringing the provincial total to 3,255. One of those deaths was reported in Central zone, bringing the death toll to 400.
There are 4,619 active cases in the province.
Red Deer County has 41 active cases, Clearwater County has 31, Mountain View County has 25, Stettler County has 23, the City of Lacombe has 24, Olds has 19, Lacombe County has 17 and Sylvan Lake has 14.
Wetaskiwin County, including Maskwacis, has 73 active cases; while Ponoka, including East Ponoka County, has 19 and Rimbey, including West Ponoka County and part of Lacombe County, has eight.
The City of Camrose has 31, Camrose County has 20, Drumheller has 17 and Kneehill County has 16.
Overall, Alberta Health Services’ Central zone has 593 active cases.
There are currently 82 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the Central zone, including six who have been admitted into intensive care units.