Special privileges for fully vaccinated residents not in the cards for Sask: Ministry of Health

Saskatchewan doesn’t plan on implementing immunizations cards similar to the ones announced by the Manitoba government on Tuesday.

Residents in Manitoba that are two weeks out from their second dose will be able to avoid having to self-isolate when returning from interprovincial travel or when deemed a close contact.

They will also be allowed to visit family in hospitals and care homes.

In a statement to CTV News, Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Health says it’s focusing on reaching the targets set out in the reopening roadmap, which would remove restrictions for all residents.

"Saskatchewan has developed a Re-Open Roadmap which links various public health guidance to vaccination rates; the province has indicated that all public health measures will be lifted when 70 per cent of those 12+ receive a vaccine which could be as early as July 11," the Ministry said.

People that spoke with CTV News in downtown Regina had mixed reactions to Manitoba’s plans.

"No, I think it would just cause too many problems," one person said.

"We’re all waiting for Rider games to open up again, so if it’s something that we had to do in order to get into bigger events like that, I’d be fine with that, but I’d also be fine with not doing it," another said.

"It depends how well that program performs, I think it’s a good idea," said another Regina resident.

"It seems like [the vaccines are] protecting even the vulnerable, so I think it would be a really, really good plan to put in for Saskatchewan," added another.

Opposition NDP leader Ryan Meili said he wasn’t aware of the details around the cards in Manitoba, but the provincial government should consider it as vaccine uptake begins to lag in the province.

"We started well, the people who were eager have got their vaccines, now we need this government to step up and get us across that last mile," Meili said.

Earlier this week, the NDP proposed a $25,000 incentive lottery for residents that receive two doses.

Manitoba announced a similar plan on Wednesday with a $2 million dollar lottery for people who receive a shot.

Health Minister Paul Merriman said Saskatchewan has looked at different incentive plans, but doses not plan on implementing one.

"We haven’t seen anything that somebody has put an incentive in a certain area that has jumped up the rates considerably," Merriman said during Tuesday’s provincial COVID update.

While the provincial government doesn’t plan on incentivizing getting vaccinated outside the reopening roadmap, the Health Minister did hint that changes to self-isolation rules for fully vaccinated residents are in the works.