CALGARY (660 NEWS) — You sent in your questions, and we got the answers.
Monday night, CityNews held a Facebook Live asking anyone and everyone to send in any questions they had when it came to the vaccination process, and we got the answers straight from Dr. Cheri Nijssen-Jordan, the Alberta Health Services (AHS) COVID-19 vaccine task force co-lead.
Can we, or should we, choose which vaccine we get?
“At this moment in time, I think the important thing is not which vaccine, but when can I get the vaccine,” said Dr. Nijssen-Jordan.
She encourages everyone to get any vaccine they can at this time adding there are very few reasons why some should not get any vaccine.
“In general, any of the vaccines are appropriate for any of the clients.”
Will the vaccine give lifetime immunity, or will people need to be re-vaccinated every year?
Dr. Njissen-Jordan says at this time, it’s too soon to tell, but that information should be available in the next year or two.
“After we’ve been able to measure the immunity in individuals and see how long it lasts, as well the amount of immunity that remains after having the disease itself.”
How does the government expect to give everyone who wants a vaccine one dose by the end of June if only 10,000 people are being vaccinated each day?
“As soon as we have more vaccines available, we will be able to vaccinate more than 10,000 people per day,” Dr. Njiseen-Jordan said. “We’re certainly looking at the pharmacies being able to deliver about just under 200,000 per week. Alberta Health Services, we’re hoping to deliver about 140,000 doses per week.
We hope once we get enough vaccine, we could be delivering well over 350,000 doses per week.”
Why, when other countries refuse the AstraZeneca vaccine, would we take it?
“The blood clot idea, the cases they saw there are very, very rare occurrences.”
Dr. Nijssen-Jordan says a study was done between two similar age groups that included a group that had the vaccine, and one that didn’t.
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She says the findings of the study showed the chances of blood clots were the same in both populations.
“We’ve been assured, our experts and our scientific review community have looked at this very carefully and have determined there is no risk of concern at the moment and that we should be moving forward with the vaccinations. The benefits from it, far outweigh any of the problems that have been seen elsewhere.”
Can we get a different vaccine in between two doses of COVID-19 vaccine, especially now that it’s a four-month interval?
Dr. Nijssen-Jordan says it’s not recommended to get another vaccine between your two COVID-19 shots. Adding, if you happen to get a vaccine other than the COVID-19 one, to wait a few weeks before getting your first COVID-19 vaccine.
“You need to wait at least 28 days after that dose before you can get another dose, so that’s why you can get a vaccine in between because of the interval, but please wait for that 28 days after the vaccine dose.”
She says on the off chance there are any adverse effects from one of the vaccines, whether it be a COVID-19 vaccine or not, it would be hard to determine which shot affected you and mixing two different types of vaccine in your system just isn’t recommended.
Why do we see changes to recommendations throughout the vaccine cycle, and will it change our planned rollout? 
“We are at the mercy to the vaccine supply and its delivery. Many of the changes have been based on manufacturing delays or delivery delays into the province,” she said. “Once we have the vaccine in the province we’ve worked really hard to get it distributed as quickly as we can to the appropriate groups that have been identified through the eligibility criteria.”
She says changes can also be made as rollouts occur. For example, the AstraZeneca vaccine was not recommended for those 65 years of age and older, so health officials had to determine what was the most appropriate group and how they might be able to get them into place.
Is the second shot still effective if we have to wait four months to get it?
“So, the evidence is suggesting the immunity is lasting longer than we had anticipated at the beginning, and that again is related to the research that is now coming out related to those places in the world that are giving a single dose of the vaccine. We are finding that it is still effective in that timeframe and as a result, Alberta Health had decided we would try to maximize the amount of supply we have, get the first dose into Albertans as quickly as we can, and then bring on the second dose to complete the vaccine course.”