Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said high vaccination rates will help lead the province to its three-step reopening roadmap.
Moe said the province is on the way to a “one-dose spring … two-dose summer” during a COVID-19 briefing Tuesday.
His remark was made in response to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s comment earlier in the day that Canada can have a “one-dose summer” with fewer restrictions, but only if the majority of the population is vaccinated.
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“The fact of the matter is we’re not going to have a Trudeau summer here in Saskatchewan,” Moe said.
“We’re going to have a one-dose spring and quite likely a two-dose summer as we are planning to have second doses available to everyone in the province by sometime in the middle of July.”
What Moe said he wants from Trudeau is guidance from the federal government on what people can do once fully vaccinated.
“I would like to see the federal government provide some guidance and possibly some direction and maybe even a roadmap on what being fully vaccinated means in terms of things like travel,” he said.
“Will fully vaccinated Saskatchewan residents and ultimately many Canadians still be required to quarantine for two weeks when they return to Canada from another country?”
Moe said although this is still weeks away, he wants the federal government to provide that guidance sooner rather than later.
He said this would help incentivize people to get their second shot and not stop at one shot.
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Over 70 per cent of residents aged 40 and older have received their first shot, allowing Saskatchewan to move to Step 1 of its reopening roadmap on May 30.
Moe said more than likely the Step 2 threshold will be reached by the end of May.
Step 2 will be implemented once three weeks have passed since 70 per cent of people aged 30 and older have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
Three weeks must also have passed since the implementation of Step 1.
“As of today, 61 per cent of Saskatchewan residents aged 30 and older have also received their first shot,” Moe said.
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The province said it has no plans to follow the lead of other provinces to pause the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Both Alberta and Ontario have paused the use of the vaccine — Alberta over supply issues and Ontario due to an increased risk of blood clotting.
Saskatchewan Health Authority CEO Scott Livingstone said there are supply issues with the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“We are not currently using AstraZeneca as a first-dose strategy, we just simply don’t have enough of the vaccine,” he said.
“We’re just not sure about allocations in the future. We do know that we can give AstraZeneca for a second dose and it’s still highly effective.”
Chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said getting AstraZeneca or Pfizer for a second dose is “perfectly fine and highly effective.”
“Either vaccine is fine and likely, based on supplies, Pfizer will likely be the second dose given.”
Saskatchewan is expanding vaccine eligibility to everyone aged 26 and older on Wednesday, with the exception of northern Saskatchewan, where eligibility is aged 18 and older.
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