Sask. vaccination demand continues to outpace supply
REGINA -- Within 45 minutes of opening up on Friday, the walk-in vaccine clinic at Regina’s South Leisure Neighbourhood Centre had so many people lined up, it stopped accepting new people.
Alli Hameluck was one of the last in line.
“I got here at like 9:30 and it opened at 9. So the fact that people were here at 6 or something, that is a bit wild. But everyone’s got to do it, because you’ve got to do your part,” said Hameluck.
The drive-thru immunization site at Evraz Place opened at noon on Friday. Again, because so many people were lined up, it closed to new vehicles shortly after 12 p.m.
The province says vaccination demand is "far exceeding supply" at the moment, as people continue to book and line up for their COVID-19 vaccine.
“We're trying to get vaccines out to people as quickly as we can as the supply allows,” Everett Hindley, Minister for Rural and Remote Health, said.
Healthcare workers put 10,347 doses of COVID-19 vaccine into the arms of Saskatchewan residents on Thursday. So far, 630,583 shots have been given in the province and 53,433 people are fully vaccinated against the virus.
“I understand the frustration people have when they come by the drive-thru and it’s full, but on the other side of it, it means thousands of residents in the province are choosing to get vaccinated,” Saskatchewan Health Authority CEO Scott Livingstone said on Friday.
Livingstone said the SHA is reducing its booked clinics in June, so it can focus on giving out vaccines in schools. However, the SHA is looking at how it can make more appointments available at drive-thru and walk-in clinics.
“As we receive more vaccines over the weeks to come, we will very readily be able to vaccinate all residents who want one,” said Livingstone.
The SHA will also be enhancing the online information on pharmacy clinic availability, since there isn’t a single booking system for all pharmacies.
“We are highlighting some of those changes very quickly on the website,” he said. “So, not just listing pharmacies that are available, but also how to access their booking systems, whether that’s online or by telephone.”
Meanwhile, the NDP is calling on the province to implement a ‘Last Mile Strategy’ to address those who may still be hesitant to get a vaccine.
“A last mile plan includes a plan to proactively reach out to eligible Saskatchewan residents, who haven’t yet received a first dose or made an appointment, and work with them to make a vaccine plan that works for them,” said Ryan Meili, leader of the NDP.
Last week, Premier Scott Moe said the SHA will start sending out “correspondence” to people who haven’t been vaccinated to remind them of the importance.
As on Friday, 75 per cent of people age 40 and older have their first dose, along with 69 per cent of people age 30 and older and 61 per cent of people 18-plus.
Anyone aged 12 and older is now eligible for a vaccine.