Sask. First Nation expands COVID-19 vaccinations to anyone over 18

The Red Pheasant First Nation is expanding the age threshold for COVID-19 vaccinations.

Next week, any registered member of the community over the age of 18 can get vaccinated.

The First Nation’s vaccination criteria is different than the overall provincial plan.

Under the Saskatchewan plan, vaccinations are only eligible for health-care workers and those 60 years or older.

Crystal Roy, the Red Pheasant First Nation pandemic response coordinator, says shots have already been administered to the elders. And with a large shipment of vaccines to arrive this month, she says it makes sense to expand the age criteria.

“We’re opening it up to 18 plus. We want to prioritize the older people, but with 144 vaccinations, we have that window of opportunity,” Roy tells CTV News.

The 144 vaccinations for the Red Pheasant First Nation are expected to arrive next week. The community is expecting a total of 300 vaccinations to arrive for the month of April.

The Ministry of Health says 14 per cent of the province's total COVID-19 vaccines are going to Saskatchewan First Nations, delivered through Indigenous Services Canada.

Roy says the decision to expand the age threshold was made under the guidance of Health Canada and health officials in the community.

The vaccination clinic will be set up at the hall in the reserve, with the first shots administered April 8.

“We have our health staff, security, support of our leadership and then the compliance of our community. So it’s everybody working together to keep our community safe,” Roy says.

“And that’s what I’m happy about — everybody working as a team.”