Chaotic vaccine roll-out leaves Saskatchewan people worried and confused

NDP calls for consistent plan after care home residents have names drawn from hat for vaccination

REGINA - The Sask. Party government’s failure to plan ahead has been negatively affecting people since the pandemic began. Insufficient testing, slow contact tracing, the worst back to school plan in the country and now a chaotic and inconsistent vaccine roll out have left the people of this province worried and confused.

“Premier Moe acted too late when the second wave of COVID-19 hit our province, and Saskatchewan families are paying the price,” said Ryan Meili, Leader of the Official Opposition. “We cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of the second wave when it comes to something as important as vaccinating our loved ones.”

The NDP is raising alarm bells after hearing stories from across the province concerned about problems with the vaccine rollout. 

“The 15 “suite” residents of my mother’s care home, Qu’Appelle House, were told on Monday morning that they would not be getting their vaccinations.” said Janet Craig, whose mother lives at Qu’Appelle House. “The public health nurses had vaccine vials with them but they were informed by a manager that they could not administer those doses to my mother and other residents in one part of the building that was not considered long term care. The nurses did not waste a drop and they were able to squeeze 6 more syringes of the vaccine from the “empty” vials and the other vials were not opened. 6 of the 15 people were able to receive them. This means 9 people who share the same facility are not vaccinated. This is very concerning because we had been assured that all residents would be vaccinated.” 

Janet’s mother, a veteran and resident of the care home, did not receive the vaccine and was told that there was a vaccine shortage. However in Weyburn, when there was a surplus of vaccinations available after vaccinating the residents of a care home, the remaining vaccines were brought to a private pharmacy, leaving employees to call people to come and get the vaccine instead of the SHA. 

“We are asking that we see some kind of policy, anything that says what happens when there are too many doses and what happens when there are too few,” said Nicole Sarauer, Deputy Leader of the Opposition and the MLA for Douglas Park, where Qu’Appelle House is located. “Have the cohorts changed? Why are key groups being left in the dark on when they will receive the vaccination. Surely we can do better than drawing names from a hat.” 

Meili noted that NDP MLAs have received dozens of inquiries about vaccine timelines from people in several cohorts, including healthcare workers, people who are immunocompromised, those living in group settings outside of long-term care, people working with the homeless, correctional staff, teachers, school staff, child-care staff and workers who deal directly with the public in a non-medical capacity.