Sask. vaccine demand high as new eligible groups try to get COVID-19 shots

New priority groups were added to the eligible COVID-19 vaccination list, but not everyone has had success so far in booking or finding an appointment.

Some Saskatchewan residents in the new priority groups have voiced their problems trying to book appointments now that they are eligible as of Friday. Issues include not being able to book online, having to wait for a callback from the Saskatchewan Health Authority or having to wait for supervisors to contact them for vaccination opportunities.

Taking questions following question period on Friday in the Saskatchewan Legislative Building, Health Minister Paul Merriman admitted it is a bit of a process, but they want to ensure the right people are getting into vaccination appointments and clinics at the right time. He asked residents to be patient.

“We have to remember there are several avenues,” started Merriman. “There are appointment-based clinics, drive-thrus, mobile clinics. We have lots of avenues to deliver this.”

The health minister added that more vaccination opportunities will become available soon when more shipments are received in the coming weeks.

“Starting in May, we’re getting about 61,000 Pfizer doses a week, which will jump to 73,000 in June,” mentioned Merriman. “We also have Johnson & Johnson coming next week, and we have confirmation that some Moderna doses will be coming towards May 10.”

In response to Merriman’s comments, NDP Leader Ryan Meili called this a “chaotic response by the government.” He said he has heard from many in these priority groups that are frustrated by the process.

“It’s something we have been hearing about from teachers, which is a big frustration because they have been told they can be a priority, but they don’t actually know how they will be getting the vaccine,” Meili stated. “It’s way more complicated than it should be.”

Priority groups added to Saskatchewan’s vaccination eligibility list include firefighters, correctional staff, police officers and educational staff working with students.

Multiple drive-thru vaccination clinics are expected to be open in the province beginning Sunday including in Regina, Moose Jaw and Saskatoon.


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