The first 2 months of Saskatchewan's COVID-19 vaccine rollout, by the numbers

·3 min read
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says the province now expects to receive 380,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses during the first quarter of 2021.
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says the province now expects to receive 380,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses during the first quarter of 2021.

(Government of Saskatchewan - image credit)

If everything had gone according to plan, more people in Saskatchewan would have been vaccinated against COVID-19 by now.

When the province originally announced its vaccination plan on Dec. 9, it was expecting to receive weekly shipments of 10,725 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine from the federal government, beginning in late December. That target did not include weekly Moderna vaccine shipments that were also expected.

Had those original expectations been met, Saskatchewan would have received and been able to administer 85,800 Pfizer vaccine doses from the week of Dec. 27 to this week.

Instead, with vaccine shortages causing shipment delays to Canadian provinces in early 2021, Saskatchewan has been able to administer 50,326 doses, including first and second doses, in 11 of its 13 regions.

Here's a geographic breakdown of where those doses have gone:

Government of Saskatchewan
Government of Saskatchewan

Shipment amounts expected to increase

The good news is that shipment amounts are set to increase in the near future, according to Premier Scott Moe.

On Tuesday, Moe said Saskatchewan expects to receive 28,000 Pfizer doses and 4,500 Moderna doses in the next two weeks.

Most of those will go to people who are awaiting their second dose, Moe said.

The southwest and south central regions — the two regions yet to receive any vaccines — will also receive some doses, he said.

Health-care workers

Some health-care workers were among the first to be vaccinated in mid-December. They constitute one of a select number of priority groups slated for inoculation during the first phase of Saskatchewan's two-pronged vaccination rollout. The general public will receive the vaccine in 10-year age increments during Phase 2, beginning with people aged 60 to 69.

Moe also announced Tuesday that the categories of health-care workers to be vaccinated during Phase 1 would be widened, resulting in another approximately 11,500 health workers being bumped up the list.

That brings the total number of health-care workers in Phase 1 to about 26,500, which is about 60 per cent of the province's health care workforce, according to Moe.

A delay to Phase 2?

Moe was asked if allocating more doses to workers who were initially excluded from the Phase 1 vaccination plan would result in a delayed launch for Phase 2, which officials initially predicted would begin in April.

"If we continue to receive vaccines at the rate that we have been....yeah, that would delay it [by] weeks," he said.

Moe said Saskatchewan now expects to receive a total of 380,000 doses in the first quarter of 2021, with the pace of daily vaccinations picking up considerably in March.

By the middle of April, daily vaccinations could number up to 7,000, Moe added.

Long-term care residents

People living in long-term care homes were also prioritized in Phase 1.

Moe said about 50 per cent of residents have received a single dose of vaccine, while 20 per cent have received two doses.