More than 390,000 Albertans aged five to 11 can get vaccinated as early as Friday (Nov.26).
Premier Jason Kenney, minister of health Jason Copping, and chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, were in attendance at Tuesday's COVID-19 update to announce the next step in Alberta's vaccine rollout.
According to Copping, parents can book first-dose Pfizer vaccine appointments starting Wednesday at 8 a.m.
"Provincial teams are quickly distributing the newly arrived Pfizer pediatric vaccine to more than 100 locations across Alberta," Copping said.
Second doses will be available at least eight weeks later. It is recommended children wait at least 14 days between receiving the COVID-19 vaccine and another type of vaccine.
Copping also announced there would be some updates to the QR code vaccine record to meet the standards for international travel. People who are not travelling will not need to update their QR codes.
The province's Restrictions Exemption Program (REP) will not apply to children in the 5-11 age group. According to Kenney, they felt it would be unfair to stigmatize kids who don't get them, given their lower risk of severe outcomes.
"Kids have had to sacrifice a lot in their young lives to keep others safe," he explained.
The province reported 253 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, 475 people are in the hospital, and 94 are in the ICU. There are 5,001 active cases in Alberta. 10 deaths were reported in the province, including a child under the age of two; Dr. Hinshaw explained the child had complex medical conditions, although it "doesn't diminish the tragic loss."
Hinshaw also noted a change to the interval between doses of mRNA vaccines based on recommendations from Alberta's advisory committee on immunization. They now recommend a minimum of eight weeks between doses as the longer interval is more effective.
The committee recommends people aged 12-29 get the Pfizer vaccine over Moderna because of a higher risk of myocarditis, although she noted the risk is still low.