Sask. premier says first doses of Pfizer vaccine could arrive next week

The Saskatchewan government will be revealing details of its rollout plan for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Premier says Saskatchewan is ready for COVID vaccine, first shots would happen soon

Premier Scott Moe said the province has ultracold storage in place to receive the Pfizer vaccine. (Dado Ruvic/Reuters)

A power outage Tuesday at the Legislature is being blamed for the Saskatchewan government delaying a news conference where it was scheduled to reveal details of its rollout plan for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Instead, Health Minister Paul Merriman and chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab will hold a news conference at 10 a.m. CST on Wednesday to outline the plan.

Moe said the province has ultracold storage in place to receive the Pfizer vaccine, which is pending Health Canada approval, with the first doses expected to arrive next week.

"This is the finish line," Moe said Monday.

"You have to start finishing at some point in time and I don't see any other finish line of any significance outside of access to a vaccine."

On Tuesday health officials announced six more deaths, the highest one-day total in the province so far, and another 183 cases.

Health care workers, long term residents first in line

The premier has said his Saskatchewan Party government will start vaccinations "as quickly as physically possible."

He said health-care workers and long-term care residents will be first in line to get a shot.

Moe said vaccinations will happen in phases determined by health officials, as more doses will become available in the new year.

"It will be as quickly as physically possible," Moe said.

Opposition NDP Leader Ryan Meili expressed concern that Moe's focus on vaccine distribution is an attempt to "change the channel" from his government's present challenge of trying to contain the spread of the virus.

On Tuesday, hospitalizations rose to 144 people, one more than the day before. Of those patients, 27 were in intensive care.

The government says getting a COVID-19 vaccine will not be mandatory, but a communications plan will be part of the distribution.