Demand and wait times low at Sask. drive-thru vaccine clinics
REGINA -- Demand has been low with short or no lineups at Saskatchewan’s drive-thru vaccine clinics over the past two days, despite a strong push from the provincial government that vaccines are the way out of the pandemic.
Drive-thru vaccine clinics have opened up across the province this week with Astra-Zeneca vaccine doses available to anyone 55-and-over.
On Wednesday, only Weyburn’s clinic saw a wait of over an hour, while clinics in Regina, Saskatoon, Lloydminster, North Battleford, Warman and Yorkton all had waits of under 15 minutes, according to the Saskatchewan Health Authority.
"What the wall is right now is the 55 from Astra-Zeneca because we have our booked appointments with Moderna and Pfizer," Health Minister Paul Merriman said during Wednesday’s COVID-19 update. "It’s the limiting factor of the age which is a challenge for us right now."
The SHA said there were more than 7,600 people immunized at the walk-in and drive-thru clinics over the long weekend, including 2,800 doses administered on Saturday at Regina’s drive-thru clinic. In Saskatoon, almost 800 doses were administered on Monday.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization has recommended that Astra-Zeneca only be used in people 55-and-over. Saskatchewan has already vaccinated 81 per cent of people over 80, 71 per cent of the 70-79 age group, 35 per cent of 60-69 age group and 14 per cent of the 50-59 age group.
Anyone over 58 is also eligible to book an appointment onliner or over the phone.
The Premier said the province is looking at using Pfizer vaccines in Regina’s drive-thru.
"We are currently looking at opportunities that we would have to provide some Pfizer vaccine into that drive-thru facility so that we would be able to start reducing the age criteria in the drive-thru," Premier Scott Moe said.
As of Wednesday, there were 36,000 unused Astra-Zeneca doses in the province.
In order to ensure the Astra-Zeneca vaccines don’t go unused, the province is looking at making them available in pharmacies and may also start using them for second doses.