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Saskatchewan expands second booster eligibility to those aged 50 and up

Saskatchewan Health Minister Paul Merriman speaks to reporters in Regina. FIle / Global News

More people in Saskatchewan are now eligible to book and receive a second booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Immunity is shown to wane over time and the provision of booster doses is demonstrated to provide significantly increased protection against serious illness, hospitalization and death,” a press release reads.

The province is recommending people receive the fourth dose starting four months after they got their third shot.

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Prior to Tuesday’s announcement, fourth doses were only available to those aged 70 and up, as well as those 50 and older living in First Nations and Metis communities or in the Northern Saskatchewan Administration District.

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All those with specific health conditions compromising immunity are also eligible.

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Bookings can be made online at Saskatchewan.ca/covid-19 or via phone at 1-833-727-5829, with shots being offered by participating pharmacies, the Saskatchewan Health Authority, Indigenous Services Canada and the Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority.

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Speaking about the eligibility expansion Monday, Saskatchewan Health Minister Paul Merriman promoted fourth doses and implored all who haven’t yet received a booster dose of any kind to get one.

According to the province’s latest weekly COVID-19 epidemiological report, only 51.7 per cent of those 18 and older had received at least one booster vaccination.

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“We’re hopeful people come in and get their third dose and then get their fourth dose when eligible,” Merriman said, adding that the province is staggering eligibility expansion to manage supply and logistics.

“We don’t want to bottleneck it. We don’t want to overwhelm the pharmacists. To be able to restart our vaccination clinics would be a huge undertaking and we would have to pull people from other services.”

Of the eligible population (aged five and older), 85.8 per cent of people had received at least one dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine and 80.8 per cent had completed a two-dose series.

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