We now know what the government’s plan is for getting COVID-19 vaccines to Saskatchewan residents.
Getting the vaccine first will be those at the General and Pasqua Hospital who are providing direct care to COVID-19 patients with Phase 1 starting in late December. That will see more health-care workers, staff and residents in long-term care, seniors over 80 and people living in remote areas such as the far north, who are at least 50, getting injected.
Phase 2 of this campaign which will see widespread access to the vaccine is scheduled to start in April 2021.
Health Minister Paul Merriman says there are challenges that will be presented as this rollout begins, but he is confident the plan that has been developed will be a successful one and that this will be a massive undertaking.
“The good news is Saskatchewan has a very strong record when it comes to immunization, both in terms of wide-scale delivery of vaccines and in terms of uptake from Saskatchewan people,” Merriman said. “Our government is prepared to dedicate all necessary resources to this massive effort. Financial resources, human resources, logistics, whatever is needed to get the vaccine delivered swiftly.”
While the news brings a sense of optimism, chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab says with the finish line in sight, we can not ease up.
“We can’t underestimate how good of news it is and what a remarkable achievement it is for us to have a vaccine 10 months into a pandemic.” Shahab said. “In the meantime, everyone must continue following the basic advice which is frequent hand washing, physical distancing, masking and staying home if you have symptoms, and closely following public health orders.”
He feels if everything goes well, a majority of the population will have been immunized by late summer.
As for getting a shot, Premier Moe says it is not mandatory but he hopes everyone will.
“Even if you aren’t worried about contracting the virus yourself, do it for those around you.” Moe said. “Do it for our seniors, our parents and our grandparents who are the most vulnerable to very serious outcomes from COVID-19,”