Vaccination Rollout in Wakaw and Area

·3 min read

Thursday January 14th the next step in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic began in communities radiating outward from Prince Albert as the first community vaccination clinics began. In the modeling statistics presented by Dr. Shahab at the provincial update that day, the seven day average from January 5-11 showed the North Central zone to have the highest daily active cases at 585.4 ahead even of Saskatoon and Regina.

In response, this past week, the Saskatchewan Health Authority organized COVID-19 clinics in 11 communities for individuals 70 years of age and older: Wakaw, Cudworth, Rosthern, Big River, Canwood, Shellbrook, Birch Hills, Debden, Blaine Lake, Candle Lake and Christopher Lake. The first clinic was held in Big River As news of the clinics were released to the public, residents from all over the province began phoning trying to book appointments. In Wakaw appointments were available for residents of Wakaw, Cudworth and surrounding areas from 4 – 8 p.m. on Friday and noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday and when those filled in just a few hours, some more appointments were made available on Sunday January 17th. These appointments were filled just as quickly. The Saskatchewan Health Authority has stated that as more shipments of vaccines become available staff at the eleven locations will be able to open more appointments. In Wakaw the EMT’s have been trained in the procedures necessary to reconstitute, store and administer the Pfizer vaccine.

Frontline healthcare workers in Wakaw’s Primary Health/ CEC, Wakaw Ambulance EMS, and Lakeview Pioneer Lodge as well as any resident at the Lodge who wished to receive it were also given their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine on January 15th. In all, Mayor Steve Skoworodko said, 200 doses came to the community and he was happy that the roll out was beginning and that it was beginning here in our community. By the end of the weekend, Wakaw EMT’s administered over 200 doses of the vaccine in Wakaw and Cudworth. Public Health had brought more vaccine with them and after administering the vaccine at Lakeview and the Mill Site, they then went to the care home in Bellevue and administered vaccinations there as well. Mayor Skoworodko is hopeful that regular shipments of the vaccine will continue to come into the area. Wakaw and the surrounding areas have a significant population of seniors who still live in their own homes and with the recent outbreak at Lakeview Pioneer Lodge in Wakaw and Pineview Manor Assisted Living in Rosthern as well as a high case positivity in the area, this undoubtably played a role in the decision to initiate the community vaccination clinics in our areas. While the announcement of the temporary reduction in the incoming supply of Pfizer vaccine is worrying there is nothing local officials or even provincial ones can do. All people can do is hope and pray that the expansion at the European manufacturing plant that produces the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will be back up and running at maximum production capacity soon.

Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Wakaw Recorder