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Alberta ramps up vaccination campaign

Last Updated Feb 19, 2021 at 4:52 pm MST

In this handout photo released by the University of Oxford a volunteer participates in the vaccine trial in Oxford, England on July 7, 2020. An Alberta senator is urging Ottawa to fund a Canadian company so it can develop a domestic COVID-19 vaccine to lessen the risk Canadians will have wait in a line on a foreign-made pandemic cure. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-University of Oxford via AP

EDMONTON (660 NEWS) – COVID-19 vaccinations will start to be offered to seniors around Alberta as the province ramps up its vaccination campaign.

Residents in long-term care facilities and health care staff at the front lines are now covered, so shots will be offered more widely.

Starting Friday, Albertans over the age of 75 who live in seniors homes or other similar settings can begin booking appointments for a shot.

Then, on Feb. 24, vaccinations will be available to all Albertans over 75.

After that, phase two takes effect possibly in April, starting with older Albertans, then adults with health conditions, and then people who live in areas at risk of fast virus spread.

Finally, it will go out to many more adult Albertans before phase three can come in and go to everyone else.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro says this will cover a lot of venerable people.

“By the end of phase two, we would see over two million Albertans being given the opportunity to have the vaccine, so this is a big deal.”

To this point, all residents at long-term care centres have been fully immunized, totalling almost 30,000 people, and overall there have been over 155,000 vaccinations across the province.

However, phase three is still unclear. Premier Jason Kenney says they may not have prioritizations relating to age or occupation.

“The focus is on the speed of administering the vaccine. Every time we add more categories, subgroups, and sub-categories, what we’re doing is making the process more complicated and slower moving.”

The province will work on rapid vaccination areas to boost the ability to give shots, including mass clinics.