The province is expanding eligibility for third doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Starting Thursday (Dec.2), all Albertans aged 60 and older can book appointments for a booster dose of mRNA vaccine six months after receiving their second doses. Appointments will be available beginning Monday.

All other Albertans over 18 will be notified once the next age group can book appointments, which the province hopes to announce "as quickly as possible."

"With the winter season increasing transmission risks, and more Albertans approaching the six-month milestone since receiving their second dose, the evidence supports expanding booster doses to add an additional layer of protection," said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health.

Expansion of booster dose eligibility was informed by the advice of the Alberta Advisory Committee on Immunization.

Those eligible for third doses beginning Thursday can book appointments online, through their pharmacy, doctor, or by calling 811. 

Albertans who were previously eligible for third doses continue to be able to book their appointments. Those already eligible include First Nations, Métis and Inuit people over 18, healthcare workers providing direct patient care and who received their second dose less than eight weeks after their first dose, or individuals who received two doses of AstraZeneca or one dose of Janssen vaccine.

As of Wednesday, 378,507 Albertans have received a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. 88.8 per cent of Albertans over 12 have received at least one dose, while 84.1 are fully vaccinated.

The province identified 430 cases of the virus on Wednesday. 424 people are in the hospital, and 79 are in intensive care. There are 4,619 active cases in the province.

Seven new deaths were reported, bringing the total to 3,255 since the start of the pandemic.

Hinshaw also provided an update on the Omicron variant first detected in South Africa last week. The province identified two new cases of the Omicron variant on Tuesday, bringing the total to three. The new cases include one traveller returning from South Africa/Netherlands and one household contact. Both are isolating and showing only mild symptoms.