Saskatchewan saw a record day for COVID-19 vaccinations Wednesday, with almost 25,000 more doses administered.
Of those, almost 90 per cent went to people getting their second shots, the province said in its Thursday COVID-19 update. First doses, however, have stalled, especially for those in the 18-39 age category.
Less than 60 per cent of the population in that age range have gotten one dose. The rate for the overall population, age 12 and up, is 69 per cent, according to Thursday's update.
Eighty per cent of those 40 and older in Saskatchewan have received their first dose, and the rate is 75 per cent among those 30 and older.
The province is going ahead with Step 3 of reopening, lifting all restrictions on July 11, despite the fact its stated goal of a 70 per cent first dose vaccination rate hasn't yet been met.
Provincial Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said it is critical to move the needle higher when it comes to first doses.
"The benefits to vaccination are so significant that I think having a higher aspirational target and working toward that throughout the summer and even into the fall is going to be critical," Shahab said during a news conference on Thursday.
"I think being able to travel, being able to keep yourself and your co-workers safe, and your fellow students and staff safe in school or university — these are all tangible benefits of vaccination."
The 24,971 COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in Saskatchewan on Wednesday brought the province's total to 1,048,669.
Saskatchewan has been allocated 120,960 doses of the Moderna vaccine for the week of June 28.
Health Minister Paul Merriman said he is confident the province will hit the 70 per cent vaccination mark in the next few days and will continue to push for vaccinations throughout the summer.
"When we hit our 70 per cent and we get to July 11, I want to make it very clear this is not the end of our mass vaccination program," Merriman said.
"We are working with community leaders, we are working with schools and we are also talking to the millennials that are in that generation, that 20-40 range, to make sure that they're aware that getting a vaccine now is much better than getting a vaccine in a few months."
COVID-19 in Saskatchewan by the numbers
Saskatchewan reported 52 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the provincial total so far to 48,590 cases.
The new cases were in the following regions:
Far northwest: four.
Far north central: one.
Far northeast: one.
North central: seven.
Central west: two.
Central east: four.
Residence information is pending for one case.
No new deaths were reported.There are 76 people in hospital, 14 of whom are in in intensive care.
Daily vaccination progress in Saskatchewan