Half of Albertans aged 12 and older are vaccinated against COVID-19; province IDs 2 Lambda cases

Some 1.9 million Albertans have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, meaning more than half of the province's eligible population is as protected from the disease as they can be.

Alberta Health announced the milestone Wednesday. Vaccinations done Tuesday pushed the rate to 50.7 per cent, exactly.

Altogether, 4.6 million doses have been given to 2.8 million Albertans, or 73.6 per cent of the eligible population.

Premier Jason Kenney thanked those who got vaccinated for doing "the right thing," and the health-care professionals who helped with vaccine rollout.

"Thanks to their diligence, we have been able to open for summer. As our vaccination rate continues to climb, so does the prospect of Alberta being open for good," Kenney said in a statement.

“The more Albertans who are vaccinated, the stronger we all are against COVID-19," added Health Minister Tyler Shandro.

2 LAMBDA VARIANT CASES: HINSHAW 

On Wednesday, the province reported 67 new cases of COVID-19 found in some 6,000 tests done on July 6. Its active case count fell from 763 to 745.

Two of those cases are the C.37 strain, also known as the Lambda variant, and connected to travel, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced on Twitter. 

"Right now, C.37 is designated a Variant of Interest. We don't yet know if it will become a Variant of Concern but are monitoring it and all variants closely. This is part of the work we do every day," she wrote. 

All positive COVID-19 cases in the province are also screened for Lambda variant. 

There were 140 Albertans in hospital with the disease, of whom 30 are in intensive care, according to the latest data.

Since the first case of COVID-19 was detected in the province, 2,307 people have died from the disease.

Both Shandro and Hinshaw urged people to continue to get vaccinated.

"It is important for Albertans to get the added protection of a second dose for themselves and those around them. Please take the earliest second-dose appointment available, regardless of brand," the top doctor said.