As thousands more people in Saskatchewan become eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine every three days, their best b…

As thousands more people in Saskatchewan become eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine every three days, their best bet for a shot in the arm could be making an appointment.
As of Monday afternoon, there were 28 walk-in or drive-through clinics listed in Saskatchewan but only two were actually open Monday — and the walk-in clinic in Regina closed early due to demand. Only eight of the clinics indicated they would be open later in the week.
Health Minister Paul Merriman hopes the drive-through clinics in Regina and Saskatoon will be open later in the week, but he indicated that drive-throughs arent the be-all and end-all for vaccinations.
We achieved our best number (of daily vaccinations) ever without the drive-throughs being open in Saskatoon and Regina, so thats very encouraging when we hit into 13,000-plus without having the drive-throughs open,” said Merriman, referring to Sunday’s total of 13,651 doses administered.
“It just shows we can get that done through mechanisms outside of the drive-through.”
More and more doses are being sent to pharmacies in the province, with about 30 per cent of doses going that way as of Monday, according to Merriman. He praised pharmacies for the number of vaccinations theyve been doing.
The drive-through is a lot of people in a short amount of time but when you spread that out over multiple pharmacies and theyre doing 40 or 50 a day, it adds up pretty quick, explained Merriman.
The minister advised that people, when theyre eligible, should check the Saskatchewan Health Authoritys bookings — even those outside their home communities — and check with pharmacies as well.
He said health officials hadnt wanted to pull away from the drive-throughs or walk-ins before because they were working well, but now the health authority workers need to get back to original work to help bring down things like surgical wait times.
We need to get those people back into positions and the pharmacies are ready and willing to be able to step up and take that on, Merriman said.
Merriman said vaccinations seem to be ticking up just over one per cent a day.
Were going to hit a certain point where there is saturation and its going to be a little more challenging (to get people vaccinated), but were just in the process of developing a plan to encourage people to get out and get vaccinated that may have been hesitant at first, said Merriman.
On Sunday, Saskatchewan hit the threshold for the countdown to start for the first step of the Re-Opening Roadmap, with 70 per cent of people 40 and older having their first vaccination. The first step is set to come into effect May 30.