The province is about to roll out fourth COVID-19 vaccine doses.
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.
Relevant science isn\u2019t fully clear on general 4th timing yet. Higher risk third dose recipients are now months out so yes 4th, but effectiveness vs hosp maintained well in most d3. Boost too early and it might wane at wrong time (fall). \nLikely will be soonish though.— Dr. Lynora Saxinger \ud83c\udde8\ud83c\udde6- IDologist (@Dr. Lynora Saxinger \ud83c\udde8\ud83c\udde6- IDologist) 1649381609
"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.