Premier Scott Moe said on Thursday at the Saskatchewan legislature that he hopes May 18 is when residents 18 and over will have access to their first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.
This information was among the updates from the government that Health Minister Paul Merriman described as “very good news” as the province continues its battle against COVID-19 variants. Merriman said if the vaccine supply stays at where it is or it improves, the province will be able to reach its targets to vaccinate people.
“425,000 total of Pfizer doses that are coming from between January until the May long weekend. On top of that, there’s about 125,000 doses from Moderna,” explained Merriman. “That gets us up to 550,000 doses plus the 70,000 AstraZeneca doses we got in. So anymore AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson would obviously compliment that.”
As the province continues its race between vaccines and variants, Saskatchewan NDP Leader Ryan Meili said he wants the government to vaccinate frontline workers left out of the province’s vaccine rollout strategy so far.
Meili believes it’s worth exploring all options to get as many people vaccinated as soon as possible.
“Why is this government still not looking at the national guidelines or advice from the SHA’s expert panel that they put together in making sure we’re vaccinating the third of health care workers who still don’t have their first shot,” he stated. “(They should) be looking at teachers, police officers and all these folks on the frontline that are exposed and are not being considered as part of the rollout.”
Following question period on Thursday, Merriman stood up for the province’s vaccine rollout plan by saying their aged-based sequencing is the foundation to the strategy. The health minister said he doesn’t want to alter their strategy right now.
“With the numbers rolling out as it is right now that we could give everybody in the province at least one shot by mid-May, I don’t want to change that system right now because it is leading the country,” suggested Merriman.
“We’ve seen other provinces that have micro-targeted groups and they have run into some challenges getting those groups out specifically.”
He mentioned that the idea is not off the table, but he believes the vaccine rollout right now is very efficient.