The Saskatchewan Medical Association is making a plea to the provincial government to change its vaccine strategy from one that is age-based to one that would see all essential workers including healthcare workers who haven’t received their first dose yet get vaccinated immediately.
President Barb Konstantynowicz says COVID-19 is mutating into variants of concern that threaten to overwhelm Saskatchewan’s health system. With the virus adapting. the SMA wants the We government to show flexibility and adapt to the rapidly changing circumstances of the pandemic and that failure to do so not only jeopardizes the safety of health-care workers and physicians, but teachers, police officers, grocery store workers and others on the frontline who are at risk.
Konstantynowicz says she has told Health Minister Paul Merriman about the concerns that the association has which have been echoed by other groups, but Merriman and the Premier say they will not change the current system in place because it would slow down the vaccination process currently being used. She feels the province has one of the best vaccine distribution processes in Canada and that the effort would be ready and able to adapt to change if needed.
“We need to use all opportunities in the battle against COVID-19 and its VOCs wisely,” Konstantynowicz said. “The current age-based vaccination strategy will not get us through the challenges the province is facing.”
She adds further restrictions are necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and its variants more widely in communities. “While VOC cases continue to spike and are affecting more people, and increasingly more young people, we need to do all we can to protect everyone in our communities.”