As of Jan. 3, more than one million Albertans have received all three recommended doses of vaccine through Alberta Health Services (AHS), community pharmacies and physician offices.
In a news release, the Alberta government said though that number is encouraging, an additional two million Albertans that have received two doses and are eligible for a booster have yet to roll up their sleeves a third time.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, reminds that all eligible Albertans are urged to get their booster in order to further protect themselves and keep hospitals from being overwhelmed during this Omicron surge.
“We know the third dose of vaccine strengthens protection against both infection and severe outcomes from the Omicron variant," she said. "I believe it is critical to use every tool at our disposal right now to protect the people and system we rely on to take care of us when we are sick. Reaching one million booster doses is a good start. I hope to see many more Albertans get their third dose as soon as possible.”
Additionally, 89 per cent of Albertans aged 12 and older have received at least one dose while more than 160,000 pediatric vaccines have been administered to children aged five to 11, with thousands more appointments booked by caregivers for their children.
AHS said current evidence indicates vaccine effectiveness against COVID-19 infection appears to wane over time, especially with the Omicron variant. While individual protection against severe outcomes remains strong after two doses for most people, third doses help strengthen protection against both infection and severe outcomes.
Everyone 18 years and older can book appointments for a booster dose of mRNA vaccine at least five months after receiving their second dose. Albertans 12 years and older who are immunocompromised can also book an appointment for a booster but must wait at least eight weeks after their second dose.