Alberta received 5,000 doses of the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine from the federal government with another 15,000 expected to arrive at a later date.
Premier Jason Kenney announced Friday that the single-dose viral vector Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be available at select Alberta Health Services clinics across the province.
To receive the Janssen vaccine, Albertans are asked to call 811.
Kenney wrote to the prime minister in September requesting that the single-dose vaccine be made available in Alberta. Saskatchewan and B.C. made similar requests to help get the shots in the arms of vaccine hesitant people.
“Canada’s been scarce on Jansen supply but we’ve been hearing from a number of Albertans who have not yet been vaccinated that they’ve been waiting for a viral vector vaccine like Jansen to be available on the market,” Kenney said.
“We encourage anybody to go out there and get vaccinated with whatever vaccine that is available,” he added.
No information was given when the next 15,000 doses will be available. Kenney said he would continue to push the prime minister for further doses of the vaccine to be procured.
“If people for their own reasons, based on their own research or priorities have chosen this as the best vaccine for them, we respect that choice,” Kenney said. “We want to be there to support them in that choice. That is why getting these vaccines is so critical.”
The vaccine was cleared for use in adults 18 years of age and older by Health Canada in March, but Canada has not yet had any usable doses in-country despite having procurement deals that secured access to at least 10 million.
According to Kenney, the doses Alberta received were produced at Johnson & Johnson’s factory in the Netherlands. In June, Health Canada found quality control issues in other batches of the vaccine produced at the Emergent BioSolutions’ Baltimore, Md. Facility leading to more than 300,000 doses to be held and never distributed.
With files from CTVNews.ca’s Rachel Aiello
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