The next shipment of COVID-19 vaccines, enough to begin the first phase of larger-scale inoculations, will arrive in the province before the holidays.
Another shipment of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine will be in Saskatoon next week and is anticipated as early as December 21st. Much like in Regina, 1,950 vaccines will be given out in Saskatoon to front line health care workers in Saskatoon ICUs, Emergency Departments and Covid Units. These workers will get their vaccines at the Merlis Belcher Place at the University of Saskatchewan and receive get a second dose three to four weeks later.
“These additional groups have been identified given they are also at higher risk of contracting COVID-19, and because of their work with at-risk patients,” SHA CEO Scott Livingstone said in a statement. “Of course, our supplies are limited, so we will look to continue providing additional doses to these groups as more vaccine is received.”
Meanwhile, in Regina, key frontline staff in the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and anaesthetists will start to be vaccinated. More priority groups could also be considered, the province says, based on uptake.
Since Tuesday, December 15th when the first vaccines arrived, 250 people have been given the vaccine, 11 on December 15 and 239 on December 16, and there were 301 people booked to receive the vaccine today.
The rest of phase one will focus on health care workers across the province, staff and residents of long-term care facilities, those in the 80 plus range, residents over 50 in northern and remote areas and as the supply of vaccine allows those 70 to 79 years of age.
The government also notes that they anticipate Health Canada approving the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in the near future, with a shipment coming as early as the end of the month. Moderna’s vaccine also does not to need to be stored in deep freeze temperatures like the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine and can be stored in a normal freezer, making it easier to transport to and use in smaller, rural centres.
Full vaccination across the province is still expected to begin in April 2021, and people are reminded to continue following public health orders in the meantime as the main way to cut down the chance of transmitting the virus.
SHA lowers self-isolation time for COVID-19 positive people
The Saskatchewan Health Authority has also lowered the isolation period for COVID-19 positive individuals from 14 days to 1o. This is only for people who have been confirmed positive for the virus from now on, and people who are currently self-isolating should continue to wait for a call from Public Health to confirm they are recovered.
If someone is determined as close contact, the SHA says people should continue to self-isolate for 14 days, as symptoms can develop anytime during this period. If symptoms appear, ten days from this date is when they can stop self-isolating.
Immunocompromised persons should follow the isolation period recommendations of public health, and follow up with their physician or oncologist.