Sask. expands 4th dose eligibility to residents 50 and older

·2 min read
Saskatchewan is opening up fourth dose appointments to people 50 and older starting Tuesday. (Kay Nietfeld/dpa/The Associated Press - image credit)
Saskatchewan is opening up fourth dose appointments to people 50 and older starting Tuesday. (Kay Nietfeld/dpa/The Associated Press - image credit)

Saskatchewan is expanding eligibility for a fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine to all residents 50 and older starting Tuesday.

On Apr. 11, the province opened up fourth dose appointments for people 70 and up and people 50 and older living in First Nations communities and the Northern Service Administration District.

The province is recommending the fourth dose four months after the third dose.

"Immunity is shown to wane over time and the provision of booster doses is demonstrated to provide significantly increased protection against serious illness, hospitalization, and death," the government news release said.

People can book an appointment through the Saskatchewan Health Authority, Indigenous Services Canada, Northern Inter-tribal Health Authority, and at provincial pharmacies that offer the vaccine.

On Monday, Health Minister Paul Merriman said Saskatchewan was in an extended plateau of COVID-19 cases and encouraged the public to go get their third and fourth shots.

"The best tool we have is to get out and get your booster shot, get vaccinated. People need to do that to help out our health care system."

Saskatchewan's third dose rates have stalled in recent weeks. On Feb. 1, 48.5 per cent had at least one booster vaccination. In the data reported last Thursday, it's at 51.7 per cent.

Merriman said the government has a "boost to protect" ad campaign going and wants the public to encourage friends and family members to receive their booster doses.

"A little bit of arm pain or fatigue from a booster shot is a lot better than a hospital stay," Merriman said. "I'll be lining up for mine as soon as they drop it to that 40 to 50 range."

Opposition health critic Vicki Mowat said the government needs to be doing more to increase third dose uptake.

"It can be as simple as giving people a phone call who have already had their second dose. We've heard from many folks that walk-in clinics are not being widely utilized. The government cannot stop the communication campaign to let people know what is out there and available to them."

Earlier this month, Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommended "rapid deployment" of fourth doses to people 80 and older.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting