The Saskatchewan Ministry of Health anticipates most Saskatchewan residents will have both COVID-19 vaccine doses by the end of July.
That’s the word from Regina today as the immunization rollout continues to speed up. The province says as they expect most residents over the age of 18 to have their first dose by Mid-May, the beginning of the second dose phase will begin on May 17th, overlapping with the end of the first.
On that day, residents over the age of 85 will be able to book their second dose, provided they were given the first before February 15th. From there, the vaccination priority list will continue down the same age eligibility it did the first time.
Health Minister Paul Merriman says this is possible through a reliable vaccine supply and an exceptional built-in Saskatchewan capacity. The brand of shot a resident receives in their second shot will be the same as their first, but this may change pending a review on the safety and efficacy of mixing brands.
While the interval between these doses can be stretched to 16 weeks, the province says, Saskatchewan is starting second doses at an interval of 13 weeks or sooner based on the Federal Government’s procurement.
People will be able to get their second doses through participating pharmacies, by booking an appointment, using drive-thrus or by going to walk-in clinics. As well, they will be at clinics operated by Indigenous Services Canada and the Northern Inter-tribal Health Authority.
Priority for the first rollout of second doses will also be given to those diagnosed with or being treated for cancer and those who have received solid organ transplants. Patients starting B cell depletion monoclonal antibody therapy, including Rituximab and ocrelizumab, are eligible to receive their second doses with a minimum interval of 28 days. All of these people will get a physician’s letter to present when they are eligible.
Province will also open Pfizer BioNTech vaccines to those 12+
With the recent Health Canada announcement that the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine is safe for those over 12, young people older than 12 will be added to the vaccine rollout, the MOH and SHA have announced.
This will expand the provincial population eligible to receive vaccination by approximately 91,000, with the province planning to give all these young people their first dose by end of June.
The province says the quantity of Pfizer they will be getting in the next two months makes this possible in tandem with phase two being started.
The vaccines will be handed out via school-based programs, pharmacies, or SHA clinics before the end of the school year.
Parental consent will be required before the vaccine is given to a youth. Parents and guardians should expect communication from their school board and the SHA when a vaccination program is available.
Vaccination for clinically vulnerable 12 to 15 year olds will begin immediately, with teens aged 16 to 18 in this circumstance having been able to get their shot since April 14th.
Much like the adults being treated for cancer, having received an organ transplant or receiving rituximab and ocrelizumab, these teens will receive a letter from the SHA or their physician, respectively.
Be ready when it’s time for a second dose, MOH explains how
The Ministry of Health notes there will be advertising for residents when it’s time for a second dose, in multiple different ways.
They say residents can be ready by knowing when they got their first dose, which will be on the card they got when they received it.
When someone goes in for their second shot, the person giving it will check if they are in their eligible timeframe, and the type of vaccine being delivered that day will be showcased in order to prevent mixing two brands.
If they’ve lost the card, they can call 1-833-SASKVAX or check Immunization History on their MySaskHealthRecord account.