The first shipment of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Saskatchewan on Wednesday. 

The shipments include 4,900 doses that will be given out to the Far North Central and Far North West regions of the province. 

“This is where we've had high number of cases and high test-positive rates and then initially about half the doses will be sent and the redistribution is quite complex in the Far North. So, all of that has been worked out and that will start this week and next week,” said the province’s Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab. 

Shahab said the Moderna vaccine must be stored at –20 degrees, making it a lot easier to transport and store compared to the Pfizer vaccine that must be stored at –70 degrees. 

The Moderna vaccines will be administered during the weeks of Jan. 4 and 11 to long-term care residents and staff, personal care home residents and staff and health care workers assigned to COVID-19 wards, COVID-19 testing and assessment staff. 

Meanwhile, about 3,000 Pfizer vaccines have been administered to health care workers in Regina and Saskatoon. 

Regina received 1,950 vaccines as part of the pilot project on Dec. 15. To date, 1,834 have been administered and the remaining vaccines will be provided for staff at Regina Pioneer Village and Santa Maria care homes. 

Saskatoon received 3,900 vaccines on Dec. 21 and an additional 975 doses this week. To date, 1,108 doses have been administered. 

“While our vaccination program has been going well so far, these are still relatively small numbers of vaccines that we have received from the federal government,” said Minister of Health Paul Merriman.  

“We expect the federal government to begin receiving and distributing much larger numbers of vaccines early in the new year.” 

Prince Albert is expecting to receive 3,900 doses of the Pfizer vaccine on Jan. 4 for health care workers, long-term care residents and staff and personal care home staff and residents. 

Looking ahead to January, the province is expecting 6,825 doses of the Pfizer vaccine each week starting on Jan. 11.  

Shahab said, because of the cold temperatures the Pfizer vaccine must be stored at, Saskatchewan has five ultra-low temperature freezers in Saskatoon, Regina and Prince Albert. The province is expecting the delivery of four more ultra-low temperature freezers next month. 

 

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