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Canadian province of Saskatchewan to expand COVID-19 booster program


Canadian province of Saskatchewan to expand COVID-19 booster program

Adil Darvesh CBC
Photo: Adil Darvesh/CBC

The COVID-19 booster vaccine is now available to all individuals 18 years and older in Saskatchewan, Canada.

Vaccines are being distributed to pharmacies and clinics across the province, and the waiting period following the second dose has been decreased to three months to encourage widespread immunization.

Premier Scott Taylor warned the Omicron variant could pose a particularly large risk to the province as Omicron is easily transmissible and the province’s healthcare system is still recovering from the stress of the Delta variant, which brought the deadliest month of the pandemic for Saskatchewan in October.

Saskatchewan has the lowest vaccination rate in Canada. Rural farming and First Nations communities have had particularly low vaccination rates; also, indigenous communities in the North of the province face infection rates at twice the provincial average. Low vaccine rates are partly rooted in mistrust of the Canadian government due to past medical experimentation and human rights abuses against indigenous communities.

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To avoid mass infection and further taxation on the health system, the government will need to partner with indigenous communities to increase trust. Vaccination campaigns will require collaboration with local tribal councils to develop culturally relevant messaging and address historic injustices.

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