Saskatchewan’s vaccine delivery effort will soon begin administering second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to the general population. As most residents over the age of 18 are anticipated to receive their first dose by the end of May, second doses will start to be offered to overlap with the completion of first doses.
As of May 17, anyone who is 85 and older or anyone who received their first dose before February 15 can book their second dose. It is anticipated that all Saskatchewan residents will be able to be fully vaccinated with two doses by July 31. Second dose administration will be distributed according to the age-based and priority sequencing of first doses.
“There will still be people receiving their first doses as we begin to offer second doses to those residents in the order of priority that we started our provincial vaccination program,” Health Minister Paul Merriman said. “But with a reliable vaccine supply and the exceptional capacity we have built in Saskatchewan, we will start booking those second doses and ensure full immunity to every resident who chooses to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Vaccination is our path out of the pandemic.”
While the interval between first and second doses can be up to 16 weeks, Saskatchewan is starting second doses at an interval of 13 weeks or sooner based on the availability of vaccines distributed by the federal government.
Second dose vaccinations will be available at participating pharmacies across the province, through the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) patient booking system, drive-thru and walk-in clinics as well as through clinics operated by Indigenous Services Canada and the Northern Inter-tribal Health Authority (NITHA).
Notification of second dose eligibility will happen through broad public communication including public service announcements, Government of Saskatchewan news releases, the COVID-19 vaccine website, social media posts and additional channels as deemed necessary.
Priority for second doses will be given to those diagnosed with or being treated for cancer and those who have received solid organ transplants. These patients are eligible as of May 17. Patients starting B cell depletion monoclonal antibody therapy (including Rituximab and ocrelizumab) are eligible to receive their second doses with a minimum interval of 28 days. Both of these groups will receive a letter of confirmation in the mail from their physician to present upon vaccination.
Second Dose Administration: How You Can Be Ready
Be ready by knowing the date you received your first vaccine. If you do not know the date or have misplaced the wallet card provided at the time of your first dose, call 1-833-SaskVax (1-833-727-5829) and they can provide you with that date, or check your Immunization History on your MySaskHealthRecord account.
During your second dose appointment, the clinic or pharmacy will validate the timing and brand of your first dose to ensure you are receiving your second dose within the recommended timeframe. The type of vaccine available at each location will be advertised to ensure that you are receiving the same vaccine brand for your second dose.
At this time, public health is planning to offer your second dose of COVID-19 vaccine to match the brand of your first dose. National reviews of the safety and efficacy of interchanging the second dose brand are on-going and the provincial policy on maintaining the same brand for the second dose may be updated following this review.
Saskatchewan Youth 12+ to be Included in COVID-19 Vaccination Roll-Out
With the approval of Pfizer Biontech vaccines for the ages of 12 to 15, the Ministry of Health and Saskatchewan Health Authority are adding Saskatchewan youth 12 years and older to the provincial vaccination program sequencing.
This will expand the provincial population eligible to receive vaccination by approximately 91,000. Saskatchewan is targeting to have first dose administration for eligible youth completed by the end of June with delivery of first doses anticipated to occur in school-based programs, pharmacies, or SHA clinics before the end of the school year. Parental consent will be required prior to the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine to Saskatchewan youth.
Details on school-based programs, including the parental consent process and eligibility dates, are being finalized. Prior to the commencement of school-based programs and youth eligibility, parents can anticipate a public announcement along with communication from public health and school divisions regarding the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Due to the high amount of Pfizer vaccines anticipated in May and June, Saskatchewan’s vaccine delivery system will have sufficient capacity for simultaneous delivery of vaccines for youth and second dose delivery for the general population.
Clinically Extremely Vulnerable Ages 12-15 to be Vaccinated Immediately
Individuals 12 to 15 years of age who are considered clinically extremely vulnerable are immediately eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine. Clinically extremely vulnerable individuals ages 16 to 17 have been eligible since April 14.
A list of those conditions is available at www.saskatchewan.ca/government/health-care-administration-and-provider-resources/treatment-procedures-and-guidelines/emerging-public-health-issues/2019-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-vaccine/vaccine-delivery-phases
Parents whose children are eligible as clinically extremely vulnerable, will require a letter for presentation at time of immunization. For youth receiving Rituximab and Ocrelizumab, you need to obtain a letter from your physician and physicians have been provided a template for this use. For youth with a cancer diagnosis or in treatment or have received a solid organ transplant, this letter will come from the Government of Saskatchewan.
With the eligibility letter, appointments for immunization must be booked by calling 1-833-SaskVax (1-833-727-5829). This is to ensure that the appointment will be booked in a clinic offering the Pfizer vaccine. Additional information on how to book your appointment is available at www.saskatchewan.ca/covid19-vaccine-booking.
Appointments may also be booked at participating pharmacies that are offering the Pfizer vaccine. The list of pharmacies participating in this provincial vaccination program at this time is available at www.saskatchewan.ca/covid19-pharmacies. At the time of booking, ensure that Pfizer is the vaccine that will be provided.
General COVID-19 Information
General public inquiries may be directed to COVID19@health.gov.sk.ca.
Know your risk. Keep yourself and others safe: www.saskatchewan.ca/government/health-care-administration-and-provider-resources/treatment-procedures-and-guidelines/emerging-public-health-issues/2019-novel-coronavirus/about-covid-19/know-your-risk.
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