Saskatchewan

Moe says 70% vaccine target 'not the finish line,' asks 320K in Sask. to get first dose

Premier Scott Moe says Saskatchewan people have done their part in getting the first dose of vaccine and are expecting public health measures to be lifted. He said that's why the government decided to go ahead with July 11 as its date to remove restrictions, even though it fell short of its vaccination target.

Sask. will remove public health restrictions July 11

Saskatchewan's premier wants a few hundred thousand more people to 'stick it to COVID' via vaccination. (@SaskCatch/Twitter)

Premier Scott Moe says Saskatchewan people have done their part in getting the first dose of vaccine and are expecting public health measures to be lifted. He said that's why the government decided to go ahead with July 11 as its date to remove restrictions, even though it fell short of its vaccination target.

The province had said the indoor mask mandate and large gathering restrictions would only be removed three weeks after 70 per cent of those age 12 and older had a first dose. On Sunday, with that number sitting at 68.6 per cent, roughly 10,000 shots short of the 70 per cent target, Moe announced those measures would be removed on July 11 anyway.

"July 11 is the day that Saskatchewan people have been looking for, striving to achieve, going out and getting vaccinated in large numbers. This doesn't stop at 70 per cent," Moe said Monday.

He said he was certain the 70 per cent mark for first doses would be achieved at some point this week. Over the past seven days, the province administered 17,000 first doses and 77,000 second doses.

As of Monday, 709,000 people had received a first dose, leaving roughly 324,000 eligible residents still in need of an initial shot.

"I can't stress enough how important it is for the 30 per cent of us to reconsider, to find the time to go out and get vaccinated with variants of concern circulating in our nation and in our communities."

Moe said more people getting vaccinated would "ensure that we aren't faced with the decisions like we've had to make over the course of the past 15 months."

He did not put a goal of how many people he wants to see vaccinated, only saying that number should be "as high as possible."

"Seventy per cent is not the finish line."

In the next few days, the province will surpass 1 million doses administered.

Moe said he was "very thankful" to receive his second dose in his home community of Shellbrook on Sunday.

"I feel like the Bionic Man. I feel fabulous," Moe said.

More Moderna headed to Sask. 

According to the federal government's vaccine delivery schedule, Saskatchewan should receive 174,000 doses of Moderna sometime from June 21 to 24. 

This week the scheduled shipment of Pfizer vaccine is 74,800.

Saskatchewan is offering the mRNA vaccines Moderna and Pfizer as first doses and as a second dose to those who had either or AstraZeneca. The AstraZeneca vaccine will also be offered to those who had it as a first dose.

Pfizer is the only vaccine of the three which is approved for people under the age of 18.

"They're all safe. They all are very, very effective and particularly effective at keeping people out of the hospital," Moe said.

Saskatchewan leading in second doses, trailing in first doses

As of Monday, Saskatchewan and Alberta continued to lead all provinces in the percentage of the overall population fully vaccinated at 25 per cent.

People younger than 12 make up a larger percentage of the populations of the three Prairie provinces than any other provinces. All three are also at the bottom of the chart when it comes to rate of first doses administered, with 60 to 62 per cent of their total populations having received a single dose.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Adam Hunter

Journalist

Adam Hunter is the provincial affairs reporter at CBC Saskatchewan, based in Regina. He has been with CBC for more than 14 years. Follow him on Twitter @AHiddyCBC. Contact him: adam.hunter@cbc.ca

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