SASKATOON - With clear evidence that Saskatchewan’s vaccine rollout is slowing down and falling behind other provinces, NDP Leader Ryan Meili called on the Sask. Party government to adopt a “Last Mile Lottery” to increase vaccine uptake in Saskatchewan.
“We all want to put this pandemic behind us as quickly as possible. Families have sacrificed so much and we need to pull out all the stops to go the last mile and reach herd immunity as quickly as possible,” said Meili. “An incentive like the one we propose here today would be an excellent way to get all hands on deck - especially as we are still in a race between the vaccines and the variants, particularly the Delta variant that is more aggressive and resistant.”
Under Meili’s proposal, every Saskatchewan resident who receives two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine will be entered into a draw for $25,000 - roughly the same as the cost of admitting a COVID-19 patient into a hospital intensive care unit according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information.
The lottery proposed today would be one component of a “Last Mile” strategy which includes:
- A plan to proactively reach out to eligible Saskatchewan residents who have not yet received a first dose or made an appointment and work with them to make a vaccine plan
- Training callers to address questions about vaccine safety and efficacy and working with trusted community leaders to promote vaccine acceptability and uptake in key communities
- Mobile clinics to be deployed to areas of low vaccine uptake and offered in public spaces
- Replicating this strategy for the second dose process to ensure the highest possible rate of full vaccination in Saskatchewan
- Trust in the experts to lead these steps and keep the premier’s office away from clinical decisions
“We know that we are dealing with vaccine hesitancy and problems with accessibility for the most vulnerable and for seniors who have been left frustrated by the lack of central booking for second doses,” said NDP Health Critic Vicki Mowat. “A lottery is one component of what can and should be done to increase vaccine uptake in Saskatchewan and go the last mile to full protection.”