Skip to content

Meili: Gov't must prepare for fifth wave

Booster shots will be available for individuals 18 and up beginning on Monday.
ndp Ryan Meili
Sask NDP leader Ryan Meili speaks to reporters in the opposition offices of the Legislative building.

SASKATOON — Opposition leader Ryan Meili is challenging Premier Scott Moe to lay out the provincial government’s entire plan to slow the spread of the Omicron variant and lessen the impact of the fifth wave of the ongoing pandemic.

The provincial government announced on Thursday that starting Monday, Dec. 20, all individuals in Saskatchewan over the age of 18 will be eligible for a booster shot three months from their second dose. Vaccines are accessible in clinics and pharmacies in the entire province with close to 160,000 doses or 38 percent of booster and third doses had already been administered to the public.

During a press briefing following the province's, Meili praised Moe’s decision to expand booster shot access to all individuals over 18 years old, to keep the public protected against the latest variant of the coronavirus.

“Earlier this week, we asked for an Omicron plan to be released. Today we saw one part of that plan in the expanded access announcement for booster doses here in Saskatchewan. Knowing that with waning immunity, getting people that third shot is essential and we're happy to see the government joining other provinces moving forward on boosters,” said Meili.

“Getting people the shot is key, but slowing down the virus is also very important. It’s concerning we have not yet heard any plans for further public health measures from the government. We are the only province that hasn’t announced changes to their health restrictions in light of new information regarding Omicron.”

Meili then asked the Moe-led provincial government to come up with guidelines, especially during the Christmas break.

“Clear and simple guidance on what people should be doing in terms of Christmas gatherings. Whether large gatherings or how people should be managing their own household bubbles. We still don't have those clear guidelines,” said Meili.

“Second, we need to see the modelling to know what’s coming next. As we see growth in cases and hospitalizations, what are the potential impacts on our health system and on the health of Saskatchewan people?"

Meili said the Premier is making a dangerous gamble in making decisions right now and must look into the last few years in order to effectively combat the spread of the virus.

"That’s a dangerous gamble, and one Saskatchewan has lost before. We know that our hospitals have not yet recovered from the previous wave. In the words of Dr. Corey Neudorf: ‘we cannot afford to have a damaging fifth wave here in the province.’ We’re long past the time for making things up as we go along,” said Meili.

“Let’s see the plan and lastly, we need to see the roadmap," continued Meili. "We're past the time for learning on the fly for surprises. Let's see the roadmap for if cases get to this level, if hospitalizations get to this level, these are the restrictions we will bring in. Let's see the plan.”

He added that the Omicron variant had already reached one Saskatchewan school, something that the provincial government should be concerned of.

“We're deeply concerned about the growth of the Omicron variant across the country. Just today, we’ve learned there are potential Omicron cases in Saskatchewan schools. This is all coming closer and closer to home for us here in Saskatchewan, and we know we are facing a potentially very serious fifth wave.”

He also pointed out that hospitals have still not yet recovered from the fourth wave.

“They're still not back to normal capacity. They're still [filled] with patients from the fourth wave. We finally don't have ICU patients away. We finally don't have military personnel that we could very easily wind up in that situation again. We could very easily wind up in the situation where doctors are having to choose who gets life saving care and who doesn't,” said Meili.

“We don't want to see that. For the sake of patients, we don't want to see it. Health care workers are still burnt out from the second, third, and fourth waves and haven't had a moment's rest. And now I'm really worried about what this is going to do to the morale and the capacity on the frontlines."

Moe, earlier, also encouraged the public to avail of the free rapid test that can help families monitor the virus in their homes. An additional four million is expected to be distributed, in addition to the over eight million already dispensed.

"We have said from day one that vaccinations are our path through this pandemic, and that remains true today. As we head into the holiday season, I would ask the people of Saskatchewan to pick up a rapid test kit to have on hand in their household as another tool in the toolbox, and to book their appointment for a booster dose to continue preventing severe outcomes as we continue our fight together against COVID-19,” said Moe.

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks