COVID-19 vaccine available at 10 physician clinics in Alberta

COVID-19 vaccinations will be available at 10 physician clinics in Alberta starting April 19 as part of a pilot program.

The pilot is being done at two clinics in each of the province's five health zones and will test the most effective ways to transport, book and administer vaccines through physician clinics.

And based on the findings, the program could be expanded to more clinics beginning in May.

Officials say locations are not being released publicly during the pilot to prevent patient care from being affected by public interest.

“Since the start of the pandemic, community physicians have worked hard to support and protect their patients. This pilot is another step forward," said Health Minister Tyler Shandro in a statement. 

"Albertans will now have another way to receive their COVID-19 vaccines from an important part of our health-care system. We’re aiming to expand this pilot to many, many more physician clinics as soon as possible.”

Alberta Medical Association president Dr Paul Boucher says Albertans have a strong connection to family physicians.

"The vaccination of all eligible Albertans is a monumental task and leveraging all our collective resources will be essential in getting this done efficiently," he said.

"We hope that this pilot effort will lead to significant expansion in vaccine capacity through participating community physician offices.” 

Each participating clinic will initially receive 200 doses of the Moderna vaccine and staff will contact patients who are eligible for vaccination.

As of April 12, more than 970,000 doses of vaccine have been administered in Alberta and the province says it is on pace to offer a first dose of vaccine to every adult in Alberta by June 30.

A complete list of participating clinics will be posted online when the rollout expands next month.

The province reported 1,081 COVID-19 cases and a positivity rate of 8.9 per cent on Tuesday. There are 402 Albertans in hospital with COVID-19, including 88 in intensive care units.