Saskatchewan has lowered the COVID-19 vaccination age to 12 and older from 16 and older. This is the final stage of the province's age-based vaccination program.
The 12-and-older eligibility went into effect Thursday morning and young residents showed up in droves at drive-thru immunization clinics.
The demand was so high that the Saskatchewan Health Authority had to close down drive thrus in Regina, Saskatoon and Lloydminster earlier than usual.
Teen Mary Antoinette Alcab waited in line at the drive-thru clinic in Regina Thursday to get her vaccine. She said she was excited to receive protection from the virus and for things to start getting back to normal.
"What I miss most about before this pandemic is going out with the people around me, my friends, just going out to the mall without really thinking about bringing your mask or getting the virus," Alcab said.
On Wednesday, the Prairieland Park drive-thru clinic in Saskatoon had so many residents anxious for a vaccine that by 11 a.m. CST the SHA announced it was closed to new vehicles.
Max Koolick, 16, was in that lineup. The Aden Bowman Collegiate student got his shot and said the vaccine is the first step to getting back on track after a long and difficult pandemic.
"My girlfriend, she's at high risk for COVID, so she's just excited to go back into normal in-person learning. And I'm excited for everything to settle down and be a lot more normal," Koolick said.
Drive-thru clinics in Regina will be back open at noon CST Friday and will stay open until 7:30 p.m. if there is enough vaccine supply.
In Saskatoon they will be open from 8:30 a.m. until 8 p.m. CST Friday at Prairieland Park. Lloydminister drive-thrus will reopen Saturday at noon CST and close that night at 7:30 p.m.
Besides the busy drive-thrus, people who want to get their teens and tweens vaccinated can also book an appointment online with the Saskatchewan Health Authority or with participating pharmacies.
Only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been approved for those age 12 to 17.