“Because this threat of the Delta variant threatens us, we want this younger group that is a little under-vaccinated to stand up. ”
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A Saskatchewan doctor says more young people need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to prevent extra-infectious variants from gaining a foothold in the province in the fall.
As of Monday, less than 60 percent of Saskatchewan residents aged 12 to 40 had received their first injection of the COVID-19 vaccine, below the provincial average of 70 percent and miles behind the 93 percent uptake among octogenarians.
Infectious disease doctor Dr Satchan Takaya said the Saskatchewan Health Authority is concerned the demographics may be exposed as more infectious variants make inroads, which is why the authority is hoping to bring vaccines. in more workplaces and pop-up places where young people congregate.
“We’re trying really hard,” Takaya said. “Because this threat of the Delta variant threatens us, we want this younger group that is a little under-vaccinated to stand up. “
The number of COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan has declined in recent weeks. The province reported just 17 new infections on Monday, the lowest daily total since early October. Vaccinations are also at record levels, with more than 120,000 vaccines reported last week.
Most of these injections, however, are for people who have already received their first vaccine. Absorption of the first dose among younger groups increased, but not rapidly. Provincial data suggests that less than 4,000 people received their first injection last week in the 18-29 age group, the largest segment in the province.
Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark recently called on young people across the province to get the shots on Twitter, before immediately acknowledging that the population was likely much more active on Instagram.
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There could be a number of reasons for the slower adoption. Younger people became eligible later and at a time when hundreds of thousands of others were also arguing over doses. People aged 12 to 17 are only eligible for the Pfizer vaccine, which is temporarily in short supply. And Takaya believes that many working class people just didn’t have time to wait in a mass vaccination clinic or look for a vaccine in a drugstore. She recently asked patients at a pop-up vaccination clinic in a western Saskatoon grocery store why they had waited so long to get vaccinated.
“I was not very polite,” she admitted. “Most of them said it was access. Many of them were laborers, they worked long hours in the construction industry and they couldn’t get by. She said the SHA was exploring more options for pop-up vaccination clinics, including vaccinations in religious centers, workplaces and public spaces as alternatives to the mass vaccination model.
Takaya’s concern is that interest may wane once Saskatchewan abandons all of its remaining public health measures on July 11. She fears that the Delta variant of the virus, which is more contagious and deadly, will worsen in the fall if the population is under-vaccinated. .
“I fear that when we let go of the masks and feel like we are back to normal, people will forget that we are still in there. There’s still a virus, and to make matters worse we have a variant coming up, ”Takaya said.
There were 468 known active cases of COVID-19 as of Monday according to the provincial health ministry. No new deaths have been reported. There were 76 Saskatchewan residents in the hospital, including 13 in intensive care.
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