REGINA — Public health is expanding the province’s booster program into a second phase, expanding eligibility slowly as promised.
Beginning Oct. 4, residents aged 80 or older will become eligible for a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, provided it has been six months since their previous second dose.
Booster shots will also continue to be available to clinically vulnerable residents, including immunocompromised individuals and those who have received cancer therapy treatment in the last six months, at a minimum of 28 days after their second dose.
Online booking is still not available for booster shots, which are only being offered at participating pharmacies and pop-up clinics being held by the Saskatchewan Health Authority at this time.
The SHA increased clinic availability this week, adding more pop-up and walk-in clinics with targets on under-vaccinated communities.
More eligibility for the booster program is also expected in the next few weeks.
Public health also issued a reminder that individuals who already received a booster dose to meet travel requirements or in a long-term care home setting will not need a fourth dose when eligibility reaches them.
“The third dose already received provides the necessary increased protection,” said public health.
As booster shot efforts continue, the province also shared a roundup of case data from the past week, from Sept. 22-28.
A total of 3,303 new cases were reported in that time, with 3,284 recoveries. Active cases in Sask. now total 4,734. The seven-day average for new cases is now at 472, or 39.2 per 100,000.
Thirty-six new deaths were also reported, bringing the provincial total to 682.
Hospitalizations continue to rise as well, with 311 individuals currently in hospital due to COVID-19 symptoms. Of those, 246 are receiving inpatient care and 65 are in ICU care. Over 77 per cent of hospitalized individuals were not fully vaccinated.
The SHA also noted that six out of 13 regions of the province are currently at full bed capacity in ICUs.
Vaccination rates continue to tick upwards, as the October deadline for proof of vaccination policies approaches.
New vaccine doses are still outnumbering second doses each day, with 25,789 total doses delivered in the past week.
As of today, the province reports that 72 per cent of residents over age 12 are fully vaccinated, and 80 per cent have received a first dose.