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Nurses’ union says Saskatchewan COVID-19 vaccination plan falling short

Click to play video 'Nurses’ union says Saskatchewan COVID-19 vaccination plan falling short' Nurses’ union says Saskatchewan COVID-19 vaccination plan falling short
WATCH: The head of the Saskatchewan nurses' union says Scott Moe's government needs a functional plan in place before discussing COVID-19 vaccine speed or capacity – Jan 13, 2021

The president of the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses (SUN) said she doesn’t know how Premier Scott Moe’s government plans to vaccinate the province against COVID-19.

That’s a problem, she told Global News, because it’s usually nurses who run vaccination programs.

“We have not been made aware, in any real concrete way, how it’s going to roll out in Saskatchewan,” Tracy Zambory said.

Read more: Coronavirus: Saskatchewan has highest rate of active COVID-19 cases in Canada

Zambory said the government needs to figure out how it will distribute vaccinations before figuring out how quickly everyone can get the shot. Premier Scott Moe has said several times in recent days that the provincial vaccination program needs to speed up.

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During Tuesday’s coronavirus update he said “there’s been some questions about the pace of vaccinations in Saskatchewan and whether they should be going faster.”

“The answer is, ‘yes, they should be going faster.’”

The previous Saturday he told radio host Roy Green the province’s capacity to vaccinate residents far outpaced the number of doses available.

“We are going to receive about 30,000 or maybe slightly more, vaccines in the month of January. When we have our flu vaccination program we are capable in this province of administering about 80,000 vaccinations per day.”

He acknowledged distributing the coronavirus vaccines had additional challenges and said he’d work with the other premiers and the federal government to secure more doses.

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Regardless, Zambory said those numbers don’t line up and that a pre-pandemic flu clinic cannot be compared to the coronavirus vaccination program.

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“We’re dealing with a pandemic first, so we have all the complications that have been added to the system from COVID-19 – and it has put a massive strain on our human health resources,” she said, speaking over Zoom from Stoughton, Sask.

“We have to have that very important discussion about service slowdown.”

Zambory said the pandemic has placed tremendous strain on the provincial health-care system and a vaccination program – a “gigantic undertaking” – can’t be done without freeing up resources.

She also said the province’s communication must improve so that the public has confidence in the vaccine and vaccination process.

As of Tuesday, the province has the highest per capita rate of infections in the country. Zambory said that shows how critical it is for the government to get a vaccination strategy in place.