NDP members concerned about lack of vaccines for health care, rapid testing for high-risk sectors

NDP Leader Ryan Meili says a last minute decision by the government to remove health care workers from the priority category for COVID-19 vaccinations is an “insult” to front line health care employees.

During a virtual media conference on Thursday, Meili explained how some health care workers received an email on Wednesday informing them about the decision by the government despite this being part of the vaccination rollout plan. He said the decision doesn’t make sense.

“We’ve spoken so much about the value of their work to now send this message that they don’t deserve to be vaccinated. This is wrong,” stated Meili.

He continued by saying not only is this decision an unwise approach, but it’s a purely political move by Health Minister Paul Merriman.

“There is a whole lot more people that are 50 to 59 or 60 to 69 years of age than there are health care workers. He’s counting the votes.”

The Saskatchewan NDP is also calling on the provincial government to bring in wide-spread rapid testing as soon as possible. Specifically, the NDP is wanting to see rapid testing in schools, long-term care facilities and high-risk communities and workplaces.

Health Critic Vicki Mowat said on Thursday that the government’s approach of putting “all the eggs in one basket” with the vaccine isn’t working.

“We aren’t out of the woods yet. We still have the highest rate of active COVID-19 cases in the country,” noted Mowat. “Instead of taking concrete action, the premier spent this week insulting health care workers and families concerned about his lack of leadership.”

“The Premier needs an attitude adjustment – it’s time he finally takes real action that will protect families and stop the spread of COVID-19.”

She added how Saskatchewan has barely dipped into its rapid test stockpile, yet suggested provinces like Manitoba and Alberta have improved outcomes with strategic deployment of rapid testing.

The NDP says the government has only used about two per cent of rapid COVID-19 tests that the province has on hand.

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