EDMONTON, AB – A respiratory therapist in Edmonton and an ICU nurse in Calgary have become the first Albertans to receive the COVID-19 vaccination.

The first 3,900 doses arrived in the province on Monday and will be given to priority health-care workers at two vaccine sites in the province’s largest cities.

The Pfizer vaccine must be administered at its delivery site and is being offered to respiratory therapists, ICU physicians and staff, and eligible long-term care and designated supportive living workers.

Vaccinations were expected to be administered starting Wednesday but actually got underway a day early.

An additional 25,350 doses of the Pfizer vaccine are expected to arrive in the province next week.

As more shipments arrive in early January, immunization will focus on Phase 1 priority populations and will include residents of long-term care and designated supportive living facilities, followed by seniors 75 and older, and First Nations on reserve, Inuit and on-settlement Metis individuals 65 and over.

Premier Jason Kenney says Alberta Health Services has been working on its vaccine distribution program for months and is using objective criteria to determine priority populations.

He says the goal is to have 10-percent of the population immunized by the end of March.