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Saskatchewan health lifts waiting period for COVID-19-recovered individuals to receive vaccine

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WATCH: BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin said Thursday that the COVID-19 vaccine developed with Pfizer should be roughly as effective against the new variant first detected in India, with it expected to be 70 to 75 per cent effective at protecting against infections. – May 20, 2021

Individuals in Saskatchewan who had COVID-19 will no longer need to wait up to three months before receiving their vaccine, a requirement previously in place by the Saskatchewan Health Authority.

According to an FAQ page on the SHA’s website, the 90-day wait period has been lifted, and as long as the individual is recovered and no longer infectious, they can be vaccinated.

Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer clarified on Thursday that the waiting period was put in place due to low supply of the vaccine.

Read more: Rural Saskatchewan pharmacies stressed, strained amid vaccine administration

Dr. Saqib Shahab further explained that after someone has had COVID-19, it’s unlikely to be infected again within the next 90 days.

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“Now, of course since vaccine supply is so abundant, it’s important that we all get vaccinated when we become eligible by age, first and then second dose. That’s why the 90 day period has been lifted,” Shahab said.

This is welcome news to two Regina residents who had COVID-19.

Matthew Cardinal was infected with a COVID-19 variant in mid-March and landed in the ICU.

Cardinal says he’s doing OK now, though his right lung is not healing as fast as it should be where he suffered a blood clot during his bout of the illness.

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He’s also back up to walking upwards of 13,500 steps a day and is back working at his serving job.

Cardinal was initially told by doctors and nurses that he would have to wait 90 days to receive his vaccine because he had the antibodies.

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“I was told that the antibodies would only have a certain efficacy against the strain that I had in previous, but with the new strains that are coming in I’ve been worried about that.”

Cardinal said he wanted his vaccine right away so he could protect himself against other strains of the virus.

Read more: Wasting COVID-19 vaccines ‘unethical’ expert says as AstraZeneca expiry nears

He was able to get a doctor’s note to try and get vaccine before his 90 days were up, but then someone on Twitter let the 34-year-old know that the waiting period had been lifted.

Cardinal got his vaccine Wednesday after booking an appointment online.

“It was awesome. It was really emotional and I was so happy. Of course I cried for it because I just want to be more safe,” Cardinal explained.

Cardinal’s advice for others about the vaccine is to “go and get it.”

“You never know how bad (COVID-19) is going to be until it hits you.”

Read more: STC walk-in clinic offering 600 doses of Pfizer vaccine a day from Tuesday to Friday

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Another Regina resident has her vaccine appointment booked for next week.

Roshelle Montgomery tested positive for the COVID-19 B.1.1.7 UK variant on Easter Sunday and has been recovering from the virus over the last two months.

Montgomery’s husband, Warren Montgomery known as the owner of The Big Easy Kitchen died following his own battle with the virus in mid-April.

Roshelle said she’s pretty much recovered from the virus, though she still deals with symptoms of exhaustion and stress.

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“With (Warren) passing it’s hard to say what could be grief, what’s maybe underlying symptoms or lasting effects. It’s a little tricky to decipher,” Roshelle told Global News.

Roshelle’s mom and sister also had COVID-19 earlier this year so she was aware of the waiting period, but she wasn’t sure what the reasoning was behind it.

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Roshelle said she’s looking forward to getting her vaccine without having to wait.

“I don’t want to wait if I don’t have to.”

“It’s going to be emotional. My husband passed away two weeks before he was eligible for the vaccine.”

Roshelle said she needs to get the vaccine to move on and try and find some normalcy for herself and her kids.

Roshelle has the same message to others as Cardinal; she encourages them to get vaccinated.

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