Saskatchewan to limit debut batch of AstraZeneca doses to people aged 64 and younger

A third COVID-19 vaccine is on its way to Saskatchewan.

Chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said Tuesday that the province expects to receive a batch of 15,000 AstraZeneca-Oxford doses next week.

“We are already working to incorporate that into our vaccination program and will be able to announce the details in a couple of days,” Shahab said. 

Shahab added that Saskatchewan will likely only give that first batch of AstraZeneca-Oxford doses to people aged 64 and younger.

Health Canada approved the AstraZeneca-Oxford product last Friday. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), the independent panel that sets the guidelines for vaccine deployment, is not recommending that these shots be used in people aged 65 and older.

While Health Canada has determined the product is safe to use on all adults, NACI said there isn’t enough clinical trial data available to determine how effective this product is in preventing COVID-19 infection among people in this older cohort.

Shahab’s remarks about the incoming AstraZeneca-Oxford doses came the same day the province announced it was making good progress immunizing one of its Phase 1 priority groups. As of Tuesday, 90 per cent of long-term care home residents had received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The other 10 per cent either refused the vaccine or couldn’t take it because of medical or other reasons. 

AstraZeneca-Oxford part of rosy vaccine outlook

Premier Scott Moe listed the coming AstraZeneca-Oxford doses as one of several factors that could result in all Saskatchewan residents receiving their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by early June. He said that would also depend on:

  • Consistent supply of the Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna viruses at the level they’re being received now.
  • Potentially widening the delivery window between first and second vaccines doses to four months, as B.C. has announced it will do.
  • The Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose COVID-19 vaccine also coming to Saskatchewan.

“We do have much larger access to vaccines in the days ahead than we have in the days gone by,” Moe said. 

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