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Sask. doubles first doses in first week following proof of vaccination announcements

First doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have spiked in the province, as residents head to clinics ahead of the incoming proof of vaccination requirement.
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Saskatchewan is seeing an increase in vaccination rates, with many heading to clinics to reach full vaccination status before October.

REGINA — Provincial data is showing that the delivery of first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine has more than doubled in the last week, reaching a record that hasn’t been seen since May.

Saskatchewan reached nearly 80 per cent of all eligible residents receiving a first dose of the vaccine on Thursday, with 71 per cent of residents now fully vaccinated.

The spike in doses delivered is being connected to the province’s announcement on Sept. 16 that proof of vaccination will be required at numerous businesses and event venues beginning on Oct. 1.

Since Sept. 17, a total of 11,891 first doses were administered across the province. In comparison, 7,052 first doses were delivered in the week from Sept. 10-17, and 5,481 in the week from Sept. 3-10.

Data from the province’s COVID dashboard also shows that new first doses have outnumbered new second doses daily for almost a full week.

Despite the uptick in vaccination, public health is still urging all residents, vaccinated or not, to follow safety mandates to prevent transmission. 

“Layered preventative measures including vaccination are known to be effective in preventing COVID-19 transmission,” said a statement from the Saskatchewan Health Authority.

Even fully vaccinated individuals aren’t entirely protected until two weeks after their second shot, and health care workers in the province are saying care services are already strained to the maximum.

Saskatchewan reported 460 new cases on Thursday, 380 of which were not vaccinated. On Sunday, the province reported record high numbers for new cases, hospitalized individuals and ICU cases.

COVID patients are currently filling hospitals in the province, using more than 70 per cent of the province’s ICU spaces. An additional 24 surge beds are available, and Saskatoon’s pediatric intensive care unit is now taking adult patients.

The SHA announced on Thursday that all non-urgent surgeries would be postponed as part of service slowdowns, including pediatric appointments and the organ donation program — impacting an estimated 1,000 elective procedures scheduled across the province.

Sask NDP critics are calling on the province to seek aid from the Canadian Armed Forces, to ease some strains on the current health care system.

"Healthcare professionals are warning that we are barreling towards collapse,” said Opposition health critic Vicki Mowat on Wednesday.


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