2nd vaccine doses for most Sask. residents expected to begin at the end of May
REGINA -- Saskatchewan’s general population is expected to begin receiving second doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of May, according to the province.
All Saskatchewan residents are anticipated to be able to be fully vaccinated with two doses by the end of July.
With most residents over the age of 18 anticipated to be able to receive their first dose of the vaccine by the end of the month, the government said the start of second doses will overlap with first doses.
According to officials, eligibility for a second dose will begin approximately 13 weeks after the first dose, so shots can be given before the 16 week interval recommended by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization.
As of May 17, anyone 85-years and older who received their first dose before Feb. 15 will be able to book their second dose.
The province said second doses will be distributed on the same age-based schedule as initial doses.
Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said the province will work with the ebbs and flows of vaccine distribution to ensure residents get their second dose in time.
"If there’s any issues with shipments of specific vaccines, we are actively looking at mix-and-match schedules to use if required,” said Dr. Shahab. “We certainly have information when required whether we can wait a little longer for second doses to be exact as the first dose or whether mix-and-match is required."
YOUTH INCLUDED IN VACCINATION ROLL-OUT
The province announced it is adding youth 12-years and older to the vaccination program, following the approval of the Pfizer vaccine for the ages of 12-15.
Vaccinations for eligible youth is targeted to be complete by the end of June. Delivery of these first doses is anticipated to take place through school-based programs, pharmacies or Saskatchewan Health Authority clinics before the end of the school year.
"We have had programs that have run in the elementary schools over the years with vaccination, so we’re just transferring that same knowledge that we have in the public health vaccination in the younger years to the older years,” said Health Minister Paul Merriman.
Parental consent is required for youth to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.
According to Dr. Shahab, vaccine trials are underway for children under 12 and he anticipates that approval could come sometime over the summer.
He added in the meantime, more people getting their shot protects the younger children from the virus.
Youth between the ages of 12-15 who are considered clinically extremely vulnerable are now eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine. Clinically extremely vulnerable youth aged 16 and 17 have been eligible since April 14.
Parents of children who are considered extremely vulnerable will require a letter from their physician or the Saskatchewan Government, depending on their situation.
With an eligibility letter, appointments for immunization must be booked over the phone at 1-833-SaskVax (1-833-727-5829).