Sask.'s 1st mass vaccination site set to start providing doses to general public in April

·2 min read
Sask.'s 1st mass vaccination site set to start providing doses to general public in April
Health Minister Paul Merriman (left) and Premier Scott Moe tour the mass vaccination clinic at the International Trade Centre at Regina's Evraz Place.
Health Minister Paul Merriman (left) and Premier Scott Moe tour the mass vaccination clinic at the International Trade Centre at Regina's Evraz Place.

(Matt Duguid/CBC - image credit)

The Saskatchewan government unveiled its first mass vaccination location Thursday.

The facility is at the International Trade Centre at Regina's Evraz Place, the same area where COVID-19 testing has been offered for months. It will feature a large indoor area and a drive-thru option.

It is set to open in April to provide the first vaccine doses to the general public under the second phase of Saskatchewan's vaccination plan. Some people in designated priority groups under Phase 1 of the plan will get vaccines at the site beginning in March, the province says.

"The best thing we can all do together to protect ourselves and to protect others as we march back to a normal life in this province … is to get vaccinated," Premier Scott Moe said Thursday.

"I would ask all Saskatchewan residents, when it is your turn, please make the decision to visit a vaccination clinic in this province."

Matt Duguid/CBC
Matt Duguid/CBC

The provincial vaccination plan includes several mass immunization clinics like the one in Regina.

The vaccination experience will be quick, says Laveena Tratch, the vaccine chief for the Regina Integrated Health Incident Command Centre.

"From the time that you come, from registration until you leave, it's about 30 minutes," Tratch said.

That includes the immunization itself, which will take about 10 minutes, and a recommended 15-minute wait to ensure there aren't any immediate adverse reactions to the vaccine.

The flow of the centre has been tested during the fall, when the influenza vaccine campaign was going on, said Tratch.

The site is also currently serving as a large drive-thru testing site. Once everything is ready to go, the testing site will be moved to accommodate the drive-thru vaccination service.

The premier said that the main issue the province is encountering right now is vaccine supply, not a lack of preparation.

So far, Saskatchewan's vaccination program is in its first phase, giving priority to some health-care workers, staff and residents of long-term care facilities, people over 70 and residents over 50 in northern and remote areas.

Matt Duguid/CBC
Matt Duguid/CBC

Mass vaccination of everyone else is scheduled to begin when Phase 2 kicks in this spring. The province said each vaccination table in the facility will be able to administer six or seven vaccines per hour. At full capacity, there will be 30 immunization tables running.

The Regina drive-thru site is expected to be able to administer 19 vaccines per hour.

Shots are set to be given out in hundreds of locations.

Matt Duguid/CBC
Matt Duguid/CBC

"This [Regina] mass immunization clinic is one of 226 sites which includes nearly 150 mass clinics along with mobile clinics and drive-thru clinics to be located across the province," information from a news release reads.

The province said more details on other clinic locations and hours of operation will be released when Phase 2 of the vaccine plan begins.