Residents aged 67 and over are the latest Saskatchewan group eligible to book COVID-19 vaccine appointments. Those in younger age brackets are urged to keep checking for updates from the Saskatchewan Health Authority.
Appointments can be made in one of two ways:
• Online: saskatchewan.ca/COVID19-vaccine; or
• Telephone: 1-833-SASK-VAX (1-833-727-5829).
Saskatchewan Government officials have stressed that once residents become eligible they will remain eligible as vaccine accessibility is expanded to other groups. It means that those who don’t get the vaccine right away won’t miss their chance.
Two church ministers, Rev. Michele Rowe, from Maple Creek United Church, and Major Charlotte Dean, from the Salvation Army, have offered to help people book their appointments.
Vaccinations in Maple Creek are being done at the “Public Health Test Site” at the Southwest Integrated Healthcare Facility. The test site is on the west side of the hospital. To reach it follow the route aligning the road towards Fort Walsh. There are several Saskatchewan Health Authority signs that read “Public Health Test Site, testing centre by appointment only, Call 811 if you have any questions”.
Vaccinations are being rolled out as part of a phased delivery by the province.
The first phase focused on high-risk populations, people of advanced age, and health care workers.
Residents in long-term care at Maple Creek hospital and the assisted living complex, Cypress Lodge, have already received their first Pfizer jabs.
Tenants at the seniors housing facilities, Southview Manor and Sunglo Court, who are aged 70 and over have also had the opportunity to be vaccinated.
Under the Saskatchewan Government plan, phase 2 got under way earlier than anticipated: it involves vaccinations of the general population, with the oldest first, then working down. As of Thursday, March 18, people aged 67 and up are now eligible to book. In addition, those deemed clinically extremely vulnerable are also able to receive a vaccine. Conditions that meet this criteria can be found on the SHA website. The SHA has identified about 25,000 Saskatchewan residents in this category.
Government’s plan is built on the foundation of age as the main risk factor for severe outcomes, hospitalizations and deaths related to the virus.
All approved COVID-19 vaccines in Canada require two doses per person.
According to the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), the recommended interval between first and second doses is up to four months.
Government officials first announced their COVID-19 vaccination plan at the beginning of February. Since then, vaccine shortages, updated guidelines and an increase in supply have led to adjustments.
Phase 2 started earlier than expected after an 80 per cent update in each age category booking appointments.
The number of people that can be vaccinated per day is dependent on supply. As of Saturday, March 20, 3,443 people in the South West of Saskatchewan have received their first doses.
Michelle McKenzie, the Mayor of Maple Creek, recommended that people take the injection.
“if people feel comfortable taking the vaccine, they should do so,” she said.
The Rev. Rowe said she had helped her father book an online vaccination appointment.
“It was a simple process,” she said.
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT
Online bookings or calls to Vaccine Booking Office
• First and last name
• Date of birth
• Health card number
• Email address or phone number that can receive text messages
OVER THE PHONE
• The phone agent verifies your age and asks for personal information
• You select an appointment time at a clinic in your desired location
• A confirmation message will be sent by email or text
AT THE CLINIC
• Bring your health card and cell phone (if you have one)
• Wear a short-sleeved shirt
• Bring a mask
• Clean your hands upon entrance
• Arrive five minutes early and expect to stay 15 minutes after your vaccine
• Appointment will take about 30 minutes