Increased vaccine supply, expanded eligibility leads to opening of more Sask. clinics

·3 min read
An increase in vaccine supply has prompted the Saskatchewan government to open drive-thru clinics in Regina, Saskatoon and other communities over the next seven days.  (Saskatchewan Health Authority - image credit)
An increase in vaccine supply has prompted the Saskatchewan government to open drive-thru clinics in Regina, Saskatoon and other communities over the next seven days. (Saskatchewan Health Authority - image credit)

The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) has expanded its list of drive-thru and walk-in COVID-19 vaccine clinics that will be open over the next several days.

As of Friday, clinics are available to anyone 40 years of age and older, or anyone with "valid eligibility letters or other proof of employment required for prioritized front-line workers," according to a news release from the health authority.

Prioritized front-line workers can also book a vaccine appointment by calling 1-833-727-5829 or a pharmacy that's offering vaccines, or head to a walk-in or drive-thru clinic, but they can't book an appointment online.

The drive-thru and walk-in clinics will operate on a first-come, first-served basis.

SHA said any of the three approved vaccines — Pfizer, Moderna, or AstraZeneca — may be offered.

Health Minister Paul Merriman said some of those in priority groups were being called back to confirm eligibility and to ensure their potential appointment would not be affected by age restrictions.

The AstraZeneca vaccine has not been approved for use in people under 40 in Saskatchewan. Last week, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) approved the use of the vaccine for those 30 and older.

Merriman said Friday that he would be asking chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab about the AstraZeneca age restriction.

He said more options in both vaccine and delivery are coming in the next few days.

The Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine arrived in Canada this week and Saskatchewan is expecting a shipment of more than 9,000 doses any day.

"We are going to use the majority of [Johnson & Johnson] through the drive-thru," Merriman said Friday.

"We are going to hold some off that are going to be used in hospital settings. If somebody comes in and presents that wouldn't be typically caught through a normal vaccination process, we would get them vaccinated at that point in time if they were willing to do that."

Merriman did not specify which drive-thru would receive the single-dose shot.

Drive-thru options expanded

The options for both drive-thru and walk-in clinics are expanding in Saskatchewan starting Saturday, thanks in part to 63,000 doses on Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine arriving Tuesday. The weekly shipment is expected to be at that level for the rest of the month and will increase to 74,000 weekly in June.

The Saskatoon and Regina drive-thru clinics are set to reopen the weekend. Saskatoon's clinic will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. CST at Prairieland Park on Saturday. Regina's will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. CST at Evraz Place on Sunday.

According to a news release from the provincial government, Saskatoon's drive-thru will be open from Saturday to Tuesday.

Regina's will open for one day on Sunday, and then again on Friday and Saturday next week.

The drive-thru clinic in Prince Albert will be open on Saturday and Sunday between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. CST.

Drive-thru clinics in Lloydminster and Moose Jaw will be open on Sunday. Eston will have a drive-thru open on Wednesday and there will be one in Melville Saturday, May 8.

The SHA is also offering walk-in clinics in Estevan, Humboldt, and Martensville. The hours of operation and location of each clinic can be found on SHA's website.