Second Doses COVID Vaccine Coming

·3 min read

The Wakaw Recorder learned late last week that COVID-19 vaccine for second doses is trickling in for the individuals in the area who received their first doses of the Pfizer product in January. Current difficulties with receiving vaccine at the national level are making it even more difficult for Public Health at the provincial level to orchestrate any clear plan or schedule for vaccinations. Even last week organizers in Wakaw were scheduling and then rescheduling appointments for seniors to receive their second dose of the vaccine as currently there is no definitive word on how many vials of vaccine is going to be arriving in the region and communication, as we have seen, from the manufacturers on down the lie continues to be a problem. Since these shipments are only for those who have already been vaccinated, there is no need for people to be calling in and trying to book appointment times. As vaccine arrives, those eligible to receive it will be contacted until all available appointment slots have been filled, then when the next shipment arrives the process will resume.

With Prime Minister Trudeau’s assurances on Friday February 5th that he has spoken with the two suppliers, Pfizer and Moderna, and they are saying that the six million doses originally scheduled to arrive in Canada before the end of March are still coming, that should provide a little ray of hope for those waiting for their chance to be vaccinated. Some experts say that provinces should make use of this period of limbo to scale up their vaccination programs, looking at what has worked well in other countries that are further ahead in their vaccination programs than Canada is and seeing if those successes can be replicated here. In Israel vaccination clinics were open around the clock to vaccinate as many of its older adults as quickly as possible utilizing both the traditional hospital and pharmacy-based sites along with drive-thru and pop-up centres. The U.K. as well is using a mix of community clinics, hospitals, pharmacies and large scale venues such as sports stadiums and even a large cathedral for clinics, all told a total of approximately 1500 sites with mobile units for predominantly rural areas.

While both the United Kingdom and Israel are small densely populated countries especially when compared to Canada’s sprawling geography and areas of sparse population, the idea of decentralization is one that can work here as well. Here in Saskatchewan for example there are thirteen zones with doses heading into more than 50 different communities within those zones. The challenge for Saskatchewan will be handling the volume of people who will be trying to book appointments in the next go round. It is hoped that our government is using this time to brainstorm and come up with more effective ways of handling the rush when it comes.

Earlier this year the federal government awarded a multimillion-dollar contract to the international accounting firm Deloitte to design and build a computer system to manage the vaccine rollout, but this system, it has been reported, is “buggy and unreliable” according to individuals in the numerous states south of the border who are currently using it. Dr. Nathan Stall, a Toronto-based geriatrician who sits on Ontario’s COVID-19 science advisory table, said, “My fear is you’re going to have a vaccine booking system that’s going to be like purchasing playoff tickets for a sports team where everyone’s going to line up, crash the system, try and book as fast as they can, and you’re going to leave behind the people who need the vaccine the most.” Saskatchewan residents know well this kind of frustration because it comes around on a regular basis each spring when residents are trying to book camping sites in the Provincial Parks. We need the vaccine to arrive, but we also need to have a plan that will roll out smoothly and with as few hiccups as possible.

Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Wakaw Recorder