Saskatchewan government criticized for not adapting COVID-19 vaccination rollout

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REGINA — Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says the province will not change its COVID-19 vaccination rollout, despite calls to give essential workers the shot ahead of schedule.

Moe says changing immunization priority is going to slow the province's ability to deliver a high volume of vaccine doses.

The province has been administering COVID-19 vaccine shots on an age-based schedule.

Moe says everyone who wants a vaccine will have access to one by June.

The Saskatchewan Medical Association says the government’s refusal to immediately vaccinate essential workers, including physicians and health-care workers who have not yet received their shots, will result in more deaths and long-term illness.

The association says the government's position fails to account for the acceleration of variants of concern in Saskatchewan that threaten to overwhelm the health system.

"The virus is adapting," association president Dr. Barb Konstantynowicz said in a statement Wednesday.

"We ask the government to show flexibility and adapt to the rapidly changing circumstances of the pandemic."

She said Saskatchewan has had one of the most effective and nimble vaccine distribution processes to date in Canada.

"I believe that the vaccine distribution effort would be ready and able to adapt to change as needed."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 7, 2021.

The Canadian Press