Saskatchewan

Sask. government details plan for vaccine distribution Phase 2, which includes general public

Saskatchewan released more of its COVID-19 immunization delivery plan Tuesday. Phase 2 of vaccination distribution will focus on the general population in 10-year increments, beginning with people aged 60 to 69.

Public will be vaccinated in 10-year groups, beginning with ages 60 to 69

The beginning date for mass vaccinations will depend on deliveries from the federal government, according to Saskatchewan Health Minister Paul Merriman. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Saskatchewan released more of its COVID-19 immunization delivery plan Tuesday. Phase 2 of vaccination distribution will focus on the general population in 10-year increments, beginning with people aged 60 to 69.

The province said it hopes this second phase will begin in April. 

The second phase will also include targeted vaccinations for adults and staff in group homes for people with intellectual disabilities and in shelters, according to the province. Extremely vulnerable adults will also be prioritized.

 All residents ages 70 and over are eligible to be vaccinated in Phase 1. 

"Saskatchewan is working to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible," Sask. Health Minister Paul Merriman said in a statement.

"The commencement of mass vaccinations will depend on the number and consistency of vaccine deliveries from the federal government. We are hopeful that mass vaccinations can start as soon as April, based on the current vaccine delivery schedule from the federal government."

See the presentation the province gave Tuesday detailing the rollout plan:

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Phase 1 of the vaccination plan is currently underway and includes high-risk populations such as seniors, residents and staff in long-term and personal care homes, health care workers in emergency departments, COVID-19 units, testing and assessment centres, intensive care units and other high-risk settings. 

Phase 1 also includes residents older than 50 living in northern remote communities and those older than 70 living in other communities, depending on vaccine availability. 

The higher age groups account for the vast majority of COVID-19-related deaths, according to the province. 

Hospitalization data shows a similar trend: as of Feb. 5, 24.4 per cent of people 80 and older who got COVID-19 in the province ended up hospitalized. In comparison, people 60 to 79 years old were at 12.7 per cent, while those aged 40 to 59 were at 4.1 per cent. 

The province says that once Phase 2 is underway, vaccinations will be available through mass immunization clinics, walk-in and drive-thru clinics, public health clinics and community-based options such as pharmacies.

"There will be hundreds of locations in Saskatchewan to get vaccinated ... We are taking an all hands on deck approach that will allow us to do thousands of shots a day," said Merriman at a press conference in Regina on Tuesday. 

When the time comes, appointments will be able to be booked online or through HealthLine 811. 

Phase 1 progress

According to the province, Saskatchewan's priority populations include approximately 190,000 people.

The combined quantities of Pfizer BioNtech and Moderna vaccines expected by the end of March will allow less than half of the province's Phase 1 priority populations to receive two doses of COVID-19 vaccine, the province said.

"We've seen this delay, which is slowing us down in Phase 1 and potentially is going to impact Phase 2. What it also does is gives us time to create that all hands on deck [approach]," said Scott Livingstone, CEO of the Saskatchewan Health Authority. 

"Once the vaccine starts shipping, if it starts shipping in larger quantities than we expect, we'll be prepared to be able to deliver out to the people of this province at a quicker pace."

Read the full details of Saskatchewan's vaccination rollout plan released Tuesday:

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(CBC News Graphics)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Laura is a reporter and associate producer for CBC Saskatchewan. She is also the community reporter for CBC's virtual road trip series Land of Living Stories. Laura previously worked for CBC Vancouver. Some of her former work has appeared in The Globe and Mail, NYLON Magazine, VICE Canada and The Tyee. Follow Laura on Twitter: @MeLaura. Send her news tips at laura.sciarpelletti@cbc.ca

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