Province Expanding Vaccine Eligibility In Region, Planning To Send Entire First Round Of Janssen Vaccine To RMWB & Banff

The province plans on providing more COVID-19 vaccines and expanding eligibility in the RMWB.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced on Wednesday they will be redirecting all Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccines to the RMWB and Banff, two of the hardest-hit areas in the province.

They are expecting to receive around 30,000 doses in the near future, however, they don’t have an exact date at this time.

Shandro adds they will also be lowering the eligibility age for the Janssen and AstraZeneca vaccines to anyone born in 1991 or older, while those the same age living in the rural communities and First Nations can get the Moderna shot.

He did not share an exact date for when this will come into effect.

All other areas of the province will stay at the current minimum age restriction of 40-years.

Also, the province plans on working with local partners to set up immunization clinics at work camps once the Janssen vaccine arrives.

A Good First Step

These decisions are being applauded by Mayor Don Scott.

Speaking to Mix News, he stated this will help keep more residents safe, though more is still needed.

“It’s not all the action that we’ve asked for but it’s the first step and we’re going to keep pushing to protect the region but I’m very pleased there’s more opportunity for people who want the vaccine to get the vaccine.”

Scott adds they still want to see the vaccination centre at MacDonald Island Park expand their hours to help shift workers access the shot, rapid tests become common across the region, and measures to help ease the pressure on the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre.

“We want to make sure that the hospital is able to look after the residents of this region and we’ve heard they’re under stress.”

The NLRHC has expanded its bed total in the ICU unit, while also postponing multiple elective surgeries to ensure they have enough space and staff to help the COVID-19 patients.

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