Giving an update on the province’s COVID-19 situation, Premier Scott Moe acknowledged the vaccine rollout has been slower than hoped, calling it “sluggish.”

But Moe also said he thinks it’s going to pick up.

Moe pointed to the fact the province is no longer choosing to hold back doses for people’s second shot.

He also said Pfizer has given new guidance for its vaccine — which needs to be stored under extremely cold temperatures — that will allow doses to be moved from their delivery points. That means the Pfizer shots can be administered in long-term care homes instead of requiring residents to come to the shot.

When it comes to annual flu shots, the province can give out about 80,000 doses a week. Moe said things are a lot more complicated so he doesn’t think health officials would be able to get up to that number for COVID vaccinations.

Moe said he does think the province will be able to administer the 190,000 vaccine doses the federal government is expected to provide in the first quarter of the year. That's only around 8 per cent of the province's population. In the original iteration of the plan, the province was expecting 202,052 doses.

As of Tuesday, 9,880 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered in Saskatchewan.

That includes 903 that were given on Monday — 219 in Regina, 210 in Prince Albert, 122 in the far northeast, 119 in the northeast, 88 in the far northwest, 81 in Saskatoon and 64 in the far north-central area.

The province’s total to date:

2,069 doses and 1,449 second doses of Pfizer in the Regina pilot program2,928 Pfizer doses in Saskatoon;824 Pfizer doses in Prince Albert684 Moderna doses in the far northwest zone226 Moderna doses in the far north-central area1,193 Moderna doses in the far northeast region507 Moderna doses in the northeast zone

Moe said there were 7,500 doses in the freezer and the province is expecting more vaccines later in the week.

A shipment of 6,825 doses of the Pfizer vaccine was slated to arrive in Saskatoon on Tuesday. Vaccinations are planned for long-term and personal care home residents and staff in that area.

A shipment of 5,400 doses of the Moderna vaccine is scheduled to arrive in the province on Thursday. Of those doses, 500 will be sent to the far northeast zone as initially planned.

The other 4,900 doses are to go as first doses to long-term and personal care home residents and staff as well as health-care workers in the southeast and central-east zones. Moe said 50 communities — including Wadena, Canora, Kamsack, Kelvington and Weyburn — would receive doses.

Moe said they’re expecting between 30,000 and 32,000 doses to be delivered to Saskatchewan in January.

“And we will have those — for all intents and purposes — delivered by the end of the month or in the first few days of February before our next delivery does arrive,” said Moe.

At the moment, around 1,000 doses are being administered in a day, but Moe said in the next few days he expected that to start going up, getting to 2,000 per day by the end of January and then going up again from there.

“We’ll receive 60,000 doses, at least, of vaccine in February. (It) stands to reason with 28 days in February we need to be a little bit above 2,000 per day in February,” said Moe.

Moe said he’s very confident in the health authority’s ability to deliver the vaccines the province is going to get its hands on. He said officials know how to do this and how to do it well.