Saskatchewan’s premier admitted Tuesday the province was off to a “sluggish” start getting vaccines into the arms of Saskatchewan residents.
Premier Scott Moe said the province will be doing things “slightly different” going forward to speed up the pace of vaccinations.
When asked how confident he is that the timeline for Phase Two in April will still be met, Moe said he believes the Saskatchewan Health Authority will be able to deliver the doses provided to the province.
“I have a degree of confidence in the Saskatchewan Health Authority, that they'll be able to meet the, the…and deliver the vaccines that we have delivered to us over the course of the first quarter of this year,” Moe said on Tuesday.
According to the government’s Vaccine Delivery Plan outlined on Dec. 9, the province identified 180,000 to 185,000 people in priority populations it aimed to immunize in the first phase, which started in December and is slated to go until April, when Phase Two is scheduled to begin.
This initial goal was based on a Pfizer delivery schedule of 10,725 doses per week, and an estimated 200,000 doses from both vaccine makers in the first three months of 2021.
Moe said he expects 95,000 people to be fully vaccinated — meaning they have received both doses of the vaccine — by the end of March.
Saskatchewan is on track to receive around 100,000 total doses of COVID-19 vaccine by the end of February. On Tuesday, the premier said the federal government has told the province it can expect to receive a total of 190,000 Pfizer and Moderna vaccines by the end of March.
As of Wednesday, a total of 10,400 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Saskatchewan — an average of 358 doses per day since the first vaccines were given on Dec. 15.
The pace has picked up in January, about 840 people have received the shot each day over the past week.
The province’s Chief Medical Health Officer said logistics of Phase One have played a part in the slow delivery, but he expects that to change once Saskatchewan moves into Phase Two.
“Once we enter the mass vaccination stage in April onwards, then you don't really have to sequence by specific groups. It's open to broader sections of the population. So the vaccine base does pick up,” Dr. Saqib Shahab said on Tuesday.
Despite the slow start to vaccine delivery in Saskatchewan, the premier remains optimistic.
“Before our next delivery does arrive, you're going to see the vaccines remain in that area of 1,000 for the next few days and then start to increase again. Ultimately, with a goal of getting up to about 2,000 (vaccinations per day) by the time we get into February.”