Saskatchewan government broadens COVID-19 vaccine booster eligibility

File image. Lars Hagberg / The Canadian Press file

More groups have been added to Saskatchewan’s COVID-19 vaccine booster eligibility list as of Tuesday.

During Tuesday morning’s Provincial Emergency Operations Centre update, officials announced eligibility for boosters has expanded to groups who have received two doses of a Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccine five months after their second dose.

Those groups include residents aged 50 years and older, residents 18 years and older living in the far north of the province and those living on First Nation communities, all health care workers and individuals born in 2009 or earlier with underlying health conditions who are clinically extremely vulnerable, including those with diabetes.

“The province has sufficient vaccine within the province to support COVID-19 vaccinations for all residents 12 and over, pediatric vaccinations from five to 11 years of age and all booster and third dose vaccinations,” announced Marlo Pritchard, president of the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency.

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“I’d like to strongly encourage everyone to get fully vaccinated and get their booster vaccine as soon as possible.”

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The province also announced the recommended interval to receive a booster shot between doses has been reduced to five months, down from six months.

Residents who have already received a third/booster dose, including for travel purposes, do not require a fourth vaccination at this time, according to health officials.

Pritchard noted that more age groups will be added in the coming weeks with the expectation of booster shots being available to residents aged 18 and over early in 2022.

Chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab anticipates it will happen in January.

“We have done really well to protect those at higher risk by offering a booster shot,” said Shahab. “We have enough vaccines to accommodate all three key populations as we look forward to the next few weeks ahead of the holidays.”

Booster dose appointments can be booked through any clinic provided by the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA), Indigenous Services Canada or Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority. Bookings are also being accepted by participating pharmacies.

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Derek Miller, chief of emergency operations for the SHA, said their team is planning to be able to administer about 260,000 doses across SHA clinics and pharmacies on a monthly basis.

“We currently have about 33,000 appointments available in the booking system,” shared Miller. “We think we are well-positioned in order to meet demands through booked appointments, pop-up clinics, walk-in clinics and community pharmacies.”

The public is reminded to not book their appointment for a booster dose prior to their five-month eligibility.

More information on eligibility to receive booster and third doses can be found at the Saskatchewan government’s website.

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