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Approval of fourth COVID-19 vaccine could further accelerate provinces rollout plan

Last Updated Mar 6, 2021 at 8:11 am PDT

FILE - This Dec. 2, 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. Johnson & Johnson's single-dose vaccine protects against COVID-19, according to an analysis by U.S. regulators Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, that sets the stage for a final decision on a new and easier-to-use shot to help tame the pandemic. The Food and Drug Administration's scientists confirmed that overall, it's about 66% effective and also said J&J's shot, one that could help speed vaccinations by requiring just one dose instead of two, is safe to use. (Johnson & Johnson via AP)

CALGARY (660 NEWS) — The approval of the single-dose vaccine from Johnson & Johnson is more good news on the pandemic front for Alberta, according to Health Minister Tyler Shandro.

“This isn’t just a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s the other side, and we’re going to be there this summer,” he said during a press conference Friday.

Health Canada approved the vaccine Friday morning after federal regulators found it’s both safe and effective against the COVID-19 virus.

RELATED: Health Canada approves Johnson and Johnson vaccine

Ten million doses have been pre-purchased by Canada, with the option to buy an additional 28-million.

Shandro said the federal government has not provided a shipment schedule yet but ensured all adult Albertans will receive their first dose of the vaccine by the end of June.

“We look forward to getting information from the federal government so we can plan accordingly and understand how many more vaccines we’ll be able to provide to Albertans,” he said.

Clinical trials for the fourth vaccine have shown it to be about 66 per cent effective in preventing moderate to severe COVID-19 symptoms and is the easiest to distribute because it can be refrigerated at temperatures of 2 C to 8 C.

READ MORE: B.C should expect some COVID-19 restrictions to stick around past summer: Dix

Alberta’s vaccine advisory committee will collect all the available data and determine which group in phase two will receive the dose.

The province announced on Thursday it was accelerating its vaccine rollout by allowing bookings for phase 2A to start the week of March 15, which includes 437,000 Albertans between the ages of 65 and 74.