Vaccine Rollout Slower than Desired

·2 min read

In the weeks since the COVID-19 vaccines started arriving, Canada has received more than 424,050 doses of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, but only about 35% had been administered by January 5th. Prime Minister Trudeau expressed his frustration at the slow rollout at a press conference held that day at Rideau Cottage. “Now is the time,” he said, “with the new year upon us, to really accelerate, and that’s certainly what I’ll be talking with the premiers about on Thursday”. South of the border, the United States have already vaccinated nearly four times more people per capita than Canada. However, Saskatchewan’s Minister of Health, Paul Merriman stated that the federal government is not allocating the number of vaccines as promised. Somewhere in the program there is a bottleneck that needs to be addressed, so that it can be distributed to people in the province.

During the January 6th update, Dr. Shahab reported that of the first doses of the Pfizer vaccine which were delivered, the SHA/public health was required by the federal government, the Public Health Agency of Canada and the manufacturer to hold back vaccine for the second doses, but now that the shipments are coming in regularly and the manufacturer can meet the delivery schedules there will be no hold backs on the upcoming vaccine deliveries.

While both Saskatoon and Regina were part of the rollout pilot phase and held back doses during their vaccination rollout, they will be starting to administer those second doses this week and next. Prince Albert, on the other hand will use all of its shipment as first doses. In the upcoming weeks Saskatoon and area are scheduled to receive more Pfizer vaccine on January 11, Regina and area on January 18, and North Battleford and area on January 25. To facilitate the administration of the vaccine in the North Battleford area, an ultra-low temperature freezer from the University of Regina will be moved to the north west zone.

With the Moderna vaccine that arrived in the province on December 28, most of the 4900 doses are destined for the Far North, but one-third will be shipped to Melfort in the North East zone to begin the vaccination of the eligible priority health care workers, long term care residents and staff and residents aged 80 and over. An additional 5300 doses of the Moderna vaccine are scheduled to be delivered to the province the week of January 11th and further locations are being determined to serve as hubs for the delivery of the vaccine.

Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Wakaw Recorder