Sask. expands booster shot eligibility

“As people are nearing their five-month (mark), although small, we were seeing a definite signal of an increase in breakthrough cases—mostly mild but a few unfortunately resulting in hospitalizations,” said the province’s chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab.

“We hope that this will allow many people who are still in some ways protected from COVID to boost their immunity and further reduce their risk of mild illness.”

Expanding eligibility means more than 500,000 Saskatchewan residents can now get their booster.

For those in the 65 and older category, Shahab says uptake in booster doses is about 60 to 70 per cent.

The province said its target is to make booster shots available to Saskatchewan adults by early 2022.

 

“We really hope that people who are eligible now come forward as they become eligible to make that process smooth,” Shahab said.

Both Moderna and Pfizer’s mRNA booster vaccines are approved by Health Canada. According to health officials, they can be administered to anyone who is fully vaccinated with two doses of mRNA vaccine or AstraZeneca, as well as a single dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

The SHA says residents will only be able to receive AstraZenca as a booster if there is a documented medical contraindication to an mRNA vaccine.

Those who received a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine are eligible to receive an mRNA booster two months after their first dose.

Derek Miller, emergency operations centre commander for the SHA, says vaccine supply and clinic resources should not be a problem.

“We are planning on a monthly basis to be able to do about 260,000 shots across the SHA and pharmacies,” Miller said.

As of Tuesday, the Saskatchewan Health Authority had about 33,000 appointments available in its booking system.