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COVID-19: Long lines at drive-thru vaccine clinics in Saskatoon, Regina

Click to play video: 'Long lines at drive-thru vaccine clinics in Saskatoon, Regina' Long lines at drive-thru vaccine clinics in Saskatoon, Regina
WATCH: Drive-thru vaccine clinics in Saskatchewan's largest cities reopened to long lines and had to turn people away – May 19, 2021

Drive-thru COVID-19 vaccine clinics in Regina and Saskatoon reopened Wednesday to long lines, and not enough supply.

Regina closed its drive-thru only about half an hour after opening. Meanwhile, the lineup at Prairieland Park in Saskatoon stretched down the street Wednesday morning.

By 10:30 a.m. the drive-in clinic was running low on vaccines and people who’d been in line were told they had to go.

Read more: Active COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan back below 1,800

Joey Sharama had been in line for about an hour and a half when he had to turn around.

“That’s OK,” said an unperturbed Sharama. “People coming here to get their vaccination, that’s good for everybody, right?”

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However, Darien Kurtz, 16, was less impressed.

“I feel like they should have enough for people,” he said. “I showed up here at 9:00; that’s fairly early. They should have enough for people who are showing up at 9:00.”

Click to play video: 'SHA to begin administrating COVID-19 vaccines in elementary, high schools in June' SHA to begin administrating COVID-19 vaccines in elementary, high schools in June
SHA to begin administrating COVID-19 vaccines in elementary, high schools in June – May 19, 2021

Some found an alternative. The Saskatoon Tribal Council’s (STC) walk-in clinic at SaskTel Centre began offering the Pfizer vaccine Wednesday.

“I first started off at Prairieland. I waited in line for 2 hours and got turned away,” said Mathea Chinn, who said she also tried to go to the drive-thru Sunday but it also ran out of doses.

Read more: COVID-19: Saskatoon Tribal Council walk-in clinic administering Pfizer vaccine starting Wednesday

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Mitch Romanciaand and his fiancé had spent the morning at the drive-thru as well.

“We tried calling [for] appointments but they were booked up,” he said, saying both he and his fiancé were finding it difficult to get the vaccine.

Teens as young as 16 are now eligible for the vaccine. In Regina and Saskatoon, young people were eager to line up.

Read more: Saskatchewan officials say 150 attendees will be allowed at province’s graduation ceremonies

“We ditched school,” laughed 16-year-old Hanna Thakore.

“I just think it’s really important just so we can all go back to normal and things can start to heal, so we thought it was really important to come as soon as we can.”

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Addressing vaccine hesitancy in Saskatchewan – May 18, 2021

Tiger Huber, 17, said he’s excited to feel safer at school.

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“It’s definitely nice knowing that I’ll be able to attend my classes without having to possibly self-isolate.”

Pfizer appears more popular

It appears people are more willing to wait for certain vaccines and shop around.

The STC walk-in clinic administered 390 doses of the Pfizer vaccine on its first day, a stark difference to the small amount that came when it offered AstraZeneca.

Read more: COVID-19: Mixed messaging around AstraZeneca vaccine highlights public distrust, uncertainty

“I think people wanted Pfizer,” said Tribal Chief Mark Arcand.

“We tried the AstraZeneca at our site and … out of 2,000 doses only about 300 people took it.”

The clinic is offering the Pfizer vaccine at its walk-in until July 31. Arcand warns people they may have to wait several hours, and suggests bringing lawn chairs, snacks, and warm clothing and blankets.

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On Twitter, the provincial health authority assured people Saskatoon’s drive-thru would reopen Thursday.

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