REGINA -- The province has expanded the list of health-care workers eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Phase 1, following a review of the vaccine delivery plan.

The following health-care workers are now included in the first phase:

  • individuals directly involved in delivering COVID-19 immunizations in Phase 2 including physicians, pharmacists and other health care providers
  • anesthetists and operating rooms staff
  • hemodialysis staff
  • radiology technicians
  • ECG/echo technicians
  • lab workers handling COVID-19 specimens
  • home care staff
  • all other critical care areas

The premier and the province’s chief medical health officer said the government wanted to ensure those giving vaccines and those who may come in contact with high risk individuals are safe from the virus.

“What we want to preserve these priority vaccinations for – and these very scarce vaccine resources that we have – are for people that are actually participating in the vaccination rollout here in the province,” said Scott Moe. “It is going to be all hands on deck and we're asking all to participate. And we want to ensure that they're protected as they do.”

“Health-care workers in different disciplines will be coming to assist in the vaccination and have been involved in contact tracing and supporting testing sites. From this perspective, getting more health-care workers vaccinated protects all these critical areas of healthcare,” said Dr. Saqib Shahab. 

The additions will add an estimated 11,500 people to Phase 1. According to the government’s vaccine delivery plan outlined last year, the province originally identified 180,000 to 185,000 people in priority populations it aimed to immunize in the first phase, which started in December and is slated to go until April.

Phase 2 targets, which will allow access for adults and staff in group homes for persons with intellectual disabilities, shelters, and adults identified as “clinically extremely vulnerable,” have not been changed. 

Moe said the additional doses could impact the start of Phase 2 if the vaccine supply from the federal government does not pick up. But if deliveries increase, Moe said the impact would not be significant. 

“When we get to the end of March and early April – when we're expecting much higher volumes of deliveries – and we're delivering likely six, seven, eight thousand doses per day in the province, we would think that the delay would be minimal for those additional doses,” said Moe. “Most certainly the benefit in our healthcare sector and protecting our healthcare sector would be substantial.”