Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said Tuesday the province could run out of COVID-19 vaccine “within the coming days,” leading to slowdowns in the vaccination process.
This is because the Canadian Government’s shipment of the Pfizer vaccines is being cut in half due to the company making production upgrades at their manufacturing plant in Belgium. It also means no vaccines will be shipped to Canada in the coming week.
When it comes to Saskatchewan, there will also be reductions in how many vaccines are shipped to the province. Now, only 2,925 Pfizer doses expected this week, being rolled out to Regina, Fort Qu’Appelle and North Battleford to continue vaccinating priority populations.
Over the next four weeks, Saskatchewan will see the number dropped by over half, from 37,000 expected down to the 17,500. Moe says there were 15,000 doses administered in the last week alone, which is an improvement in vaccination numbers, but they will need to change the vaccine delivery strategy to account for the shortage.
He also says the Canadian Government needs to do more to secure vaccines for the provinces.
“We need the federal government to pick up the pace of vaccine deliveries in the weeks ahead and pick up the pace in their negotiations and discussions with Pfizer, in particular,” Moe said in his January 19th conference.
With about 24,000 shots total since the vaccine became available, Saskatchewan now has the second-highest per-capita vaccination rate, just behind PEI in first.
Dr. Saqib Shahab, the province’s chief medical health officer, says he’s seen some positive changes in COVID-19 numbers, with the positive rate dropping 10.3 per cent, or two percentage points, and more testing happening.
Still, he says this isn’t the time to let up on COVID-19 guidelines, calling on people to stay the course until the summer, when vaccinations will be largely available for the general public.