Infectious Diseases Doctor In Alberta Says One 'Issue' Is 'Really Impacting' COVID-19 Cases

The province is about to roll out fourth COVID-19 vaccine doses.

Calgary Staff Writer
Someone preparing a COVID-19 vaccination.

Someone preparing a COVID-19 vaccination.

An infectious diseases doctor is warning that not enough Albertans have received a third COVID-19 vaccine dose, despite the province beginning the rollout of fourth doses.

Dr. Lynora Saxinger, an infectious diseases specialist at the University of Alberta, urged people in the province — particularly those aged 65 and older — to get a third vaccine dose, as a "poor uptake" has led to more people getting sick.

"Hospitalizations are increasing in AB and the uptick seems mainly to be 65 + year olds," she said in a tweet.

"Relevant science isn’t fully clear on general fourth [dose] timing yet. Higher-risk third-dose recipients are now months out," Saxinger added in a response to another user.

"Boost too early and it might wane at the wrong time," she explained.

"The issue is we have a poor uptake of the third dose, and that's really impacting what we’re seeing right now of people getting more ill," Saxinger told CTV News.

According to the province, 86.7% of eligible Albertans aged 12 or older have had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, however, under 40% of all eligible Albertans have had a third dose.

“People are sometimes generally surprised how ill they are getting despite getting two doses of vaccine. A lot of them are not opposed to getting a third dose, they just haven’t got around to getting it," Saxinger said.

Saxinger's comments come as Alberta announced it would be expanding its vaccine program to offer a fourth dose to some eligible Albertans starting April 12.

The government said the Omicron subvariant BA.2 now makes up around 80% of new cases in the province with "potential for increased transmission and some increase in [hospital] admissions".

"All Albertans age 70 and older, First Nations, Métis and Inuit people in Alberta age 65 and older, and all seniors in congregate care regardless of age can receive a fourth dose of vaccine," the government said.

Health Canada has a robust website with all the latest information on COVID-19 vaccines and can answer any questions you may have.

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