Alberta doctors to join vaccination effort, province launches pilot at select clinics

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Clinics participating in the immunization program will start administering shots to eligible Albertans on April 19.   (Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit)
Clinics participating in the immunization program will start administering shots to eligible Albertans on April 19. (Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit)

Doctors are joining Alberta's COVID-19 vaccination campaign as the province pushes to outpace a recent surge in infection rates.

Next week, 10 community physician clinics across the province will begin administering vaccines as part of a pilot project announced by the province on Wednesday.

Clinics participating in the immunization pilot will start administering shots to eligible Albertans on April 19.

Additional clinics are expected to join the campaign in May.

"This pilot is another step forward," Health Minister Tyler Shandro said Wednesday in a news release.

We're aiming to expand this pilot to many, many more physician clinics as soon as possible. -Tyler Shandro

"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."

The pilot is expected to test the most effective ways to transport, book and administer the vaccine through community physician clinics.

There will be two participating clinics in each AHS health zone during the pilot phase, the province said.

Each participating clinic will initially receive 200 doses of the Moderna vaccine.

The province said the locations of the participating pharmacies will not be made public to ensure patient care is not affected by public interest. Participating clinics will contact patients and handle appointment bookings directly.

A complete list of participating clinics will be posted online when the roll-out expands next month, the province said.

Under billing codes being introduced this week, doctors will receive $25 for administering the vaccine and an extra $20 if the appointment goes longer than 10 minutes.

Part of staged immunization campaign

The province is launching its immunization campaign in stages, administering the shot at pharmacies and massive, rapid flow clinics in Edmonton and Calgary.

Additional frontline healthcare workers including Phase 2C became eligible for the shot this week.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw has characterized Alberta's third wave as a race between vaccinations and the rapid spread of new, highly transmissible variants.

On Tuesday, the province reported 1,081 new cases of COVID-19 and three more deaths, bringing the total number of deaths to 2,021.

It recorded 705 more cases of the highly contagious variants of concern, which now account for 52 per cent of active cases in Alberta. On Tuesday, 402 people were in hospital in Alberta with 88 of those patients in intensive care.

As of Monday, 970,272 doses of vaccine had been administered with more 186,156 Albertans fully immunized. The province has pledged to make every adult Albertan eligible for a dose by the end of June.