Saskatchewan

Regina police chief pushing to have front-line officers on vaccine priority list

The Regina Police Service's chief is expressing his disappointment after first responders were left off the COVID-19 vaccine priority list.

Regina Police Service says it has reached out to the provincial government

Regina police chief Evan Bray. (CBC News)

The Regina Police Service's chief expressed disappointment after first responders were left off the COVID-19 vaccine priority list. 

The police service says it asked the provincial government to reconsider its decision as they push to have front-line officers and employees included in the initial stages of Phase 2 in the province's vaccine rollout plan. 

The province is administering shots primarily based on age, which means officers and civilians will not be protected.

"We are disappointed in this decision," says Bray said in a statement.

"Our front-line officers are being asked to help in situations where people who are COVID-positive, and a risk to the community, are refusing to isolate. This is in addition to our regular duties which often put us into contact with COVID-positive individuals."

The Regina Police Service said there about 300 employees who work in a front-line position and have thousands of interactions with the public each week. 

"The interactions are dynamic and often unpredictable so officers are not able to consistently avoid COVID-19 exposure through the use of personal protective equipment," Bray said. 

"We agree that prioritization shouldn't be for all police. It should, however, be done in a way that it gives our front line this immunization so that they can continue to safely protect our community."

The Regina Police Service says it reached out to the provincial government "in an effort to continue this important conversation."

On Wednesday, Minister of Health Paul Merriman said the province's vaccine plan favours the speed of delivery. 

"When we start micro-targeting groups, it can slow things down," Merriman said.

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