SASKATOON - In light of the risks posed by the Omicron variant and the risk of a fifth wave, Official Opposition Leader Ryan Meili will be calling for a plan to expand availability of COVID-19 booster shots for Saskatchewan residents eighteen and over.
“With this new variant and a fifth wave on the horizon, now is the time to be proactive. The SHA has already warned that it's not a matter of if but a matter of when Saskatchewan will go through a fifth wave” said Meili. "This government has so far refused to learn from the previous waves, instead choosing to play politics and pander instead of listening to the advice of experts. We can’t afford to let the Sask. Party get this wrong again.”
The Omicron variant has already been identified in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec. At last night’s physician’s town hall, the presentation relayed that when it came to a fifth wave, it was not a matter of “if” but a matter of “when”. The SHA has identified three unknowns when it comes to the scale and timing of the fifth wave:
- the rate of waning immunity
- population behaviour (as it relates to social gatherings and mixing)
- the unknown impact of the Omicron variant.
One of the strategies identified by the SHA to address the province’s waning immunity rates was to expand booster doses to more Saskatchewan people. Pfizer and Moderna booster shots have been approved by both the SHA and NACI for people ages eighteen but are only being made available to people over 65. Manitoba is already offering booster doses to all eligible adults and Alberta and Ontario have unveiled plans to expand eligibility as well.
“We’re just coming out of the deadliest fourth wave in the country. Our healthcare system has still not recovered. There are patients in desperate need of life-saving surgeries and we won’t be able to get through the backlog if Saskatchewan sees skyrocketing hospitalizations, as we did during the last wave” said Meili. “Expanding third dose availability is key to keeping the 5th wave under control.”
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