Sask. residents 12+ expected to be eligible for 1st vaccine dose by May 20
REGINA -- All Saskatchewan residents over the age of 12 are expected to be eligible for their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine by May 20, according to the Government of Saskatchewan.
“We want to get that into people's arms and we don't want to miss a beat on that, so we want to be able to make sure that they have at least a plan on when their age category should be called,” Minister of Health Paul Merriman said.
In a release Friday, the province released the following schedule for vaccine eligibility:
- May 8: Ages 32-plus
- May 10: Ages 29-plus
- May 12: Age 26-plus
- May 14: Age 23-plus
- May 16: Age 20-plus
- May 18: Age 16-plus
- May 20: Age 12-plus
The government noted the schedule may be revised if vaccine deliveries are delayed. The age-based schedule applies to all immunization clinics, including booked appointments, drive-thru/walk-in clinics, pharmacies and mobile clinics.
“We wanted to be able to lay out a roadmap of when potentially everybody could come. The age range of dropping three years every two days is based on what we can see from our Pfizer and Moderna shipments that are quickly coming online,” Minister of Health Paul Merriman said.
Merriman said some doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine will be used in drive-thru clinics, when the first delivery arrives. But if a drive-thru is closed, he said there are other options for residents, like booking an appointment or contacting an eligible pharmacy.
Vaccine eligibility remains at 18-years and older in the Northern Saskatchewan Administrative district. Eligibility for those 12 and older in this area will be announced when it is confirmed.
Youth aged 12 to 17 are only approved to receive the Pfizer vaccine. Administration of vaccines may occur in school-based programs, pharmacies, or SHA clinics before the end of the school year.
For school children, the province will follow a similar vaccination program to the one that runs in elementary schools.
“We’re going to take that, move it into the higher schools and then complement that with our mobile clinics so we can get all of the students done in a very short amount of time in a setting that they're very familiar so we don't have to move them across town,” Minister of Health Paul Merriman said.
The province says details for school based programs will be announced before May 20.
One doctor said the plan makes sense, but the bigger question is what will happen after the first wave of people receive a first dose.
“What are we going to do with second doses? What are we going to do with people who are less keen or less inclined and so forth. So that’s going to be the hard work that we’re going to have to figure out probably in the next few weeks,” said Dr. Alex Wong, an infectious disease physician in Regina.
Dr. Wong said the next step is getting vaccines to residents who can’t access appointments or drive-thru clinics and to continue educating residents that might be hesitant to get a shot.
“What you don’t want to do is reopen things and then be forced to close again because there is some kind of surge. I think the possibility of that happening is low, but it’s not zero,” Dr. Wong said.