Hinshaw to announce AstraZeneca advice, second dose rollout 'fairly soon': Shandro

Albertans are looking for guidance from their government after Manitoba and Quebec announced on Monday they would be expanding their second dose eligibility for people who have already received the AstraZeneca vaccine as their first dose.

The vaccine bulletin for Quebecers and Manitobans says recipients of AstraZeneza as a first dose can now receive a second dose of any mRNA vaccine, Pfizer or Moderna, if they meet provincial guidelines for eligibility.

Close to 250,000 Albertans got the AstraZeneca shot when the province opened up appointment bookings to Generation X at the end of April.

With the new rollout announced in other provinces, the direction for Alberta remains unclear on whether or not people can go with another brand for their second dose.

In a press conference on Monday, Health Minister Tyler Shandro said an announcement would be unveiled by the province’s top doctor very soon.

BLOOD CLOTS LESS LIKELY WITH SECOND DOSE

To date, a handful of Canadians have died from rare blood clots caused by the AstraZeneca vaccine. Because of the risks, Shandro said the province is relying on international studies for guidance on safety, and efficacy of mixing vaccines.

"There was a study that was being done in the United Kingdom that had two parts,” Shandro explained. “The first part was on safety and has been determined that at least is determined to be safe.

"We were waiting for the second part to be completed; we were hoping it would have been done last week or announced at least publicly last week. It's not going to be released now I don't think until the end of June."

Health experts have been firm on their stance of how rare blood clots from AstraZeneca are, and even rarer after the second dose.

READ MORE: Manitoba says AstraZeneca vaccine recipients can get Pfizer or Moderna for second dose

'FURTHER AHEAD THAN OTHER PROVINCES'

According to provincial numbers, Alberta is doing better on second doses than the national average. About seven per cent of Albertans are fully immunized compared to roughly five per cent nationally.

"We are much further ahead than other provinces,” Shandro said.

“As you notice there are many provinces who are just starting to make second doses available to people who are over 80, as an example.

"Many of our folks in Phase 1 have already had that second dose, but we'll be making those announcements soon as well."

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Jeremy Thompson