REGINA -- All adults in Saskatchewan are expected to have access to COVID-19 vaccines by mid-year, the premier said during a news conference Tuesday.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said COVID-19 vaccine doses will continue to be distributed by age group, over the next three months.

"This is the most important thing that we can do to protect ourselves and to protect those around us," Moe said.

While the vaccine schedule is speeding up in the coming months, Dr. Saqib Shahab, Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer, cautioned residents against relaxing around health and safety restrictions, until vaccinations are more complete.

"We do need to stay the course as much as possible to keep our overall numbers down," Shahab said.

"Even as our most vulnerable are getting vaccinated, it's important that we understand that it will take up to three weeks to get some level of protection."

The province received an updated vaccine distribution schedule from the federal government last week, which Moe said includes an expected 124,000 more doses of vaccines by the end of March.

"That's more doses in the next three weeks than we have received in the first three months of our vaccinations," Moe said.

Due to a delayed second dose schedule, Saskatchewan should be done phase one of the vaccination plan in early April.

"That will be an important milestone because it will mean everyone aged 70 and above will have had their chance to get their first shot by early in April," Moe said. "This should significantly reduce the number of serious cases as well as hospitalizations."

The following is the expected schedule for vaccinations in people under the age of 70:

  • People in their 60s – Apr. 5
  • People in their 50s – Apr. 19
  • People in their 40s – May 10
  • People in their 30s – May 31
  • All other adults – Jun. 14

Nearly all long-term care homes have received first doses of the vaccine and around 56 per cent have received second doses. Moe added that around 37 per cent of all Saskatchewan seniors over the age of 80 have received first doses of vaccines.