Saskatchewan is dropping the age at which people can receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to 40 from 55.
Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba and British Columbia have done the same. Quebec announced earlier Tuesday that it was dropping the age to 45.
“In the short term this isn’t going to make much of a difference because, unlike some other areas of Canada, Saskatchewan has already used up the bulk of the supply of AstraZeneca doses that we received,” said Premier Scott Moe.
“What’s left is already allocated to a bunch of appointments across Saskatchewan.”
The province said it has about 15,000 doses of AstraZeneca, but less than 9,000 doses are available.
Moe said it’s expected that eligibility for all vaccines will be lowered to 44 on Thursday and to 40 by April 28.
At that time, he said, remaining first responders and front-line workers will be prioritized — including police officers, firefighters, correctional staff and teachers.
Saskatchewan has faced increased pressure to prioritize educators in its vaccination plan after an influential Cree teacher died from COVID-19.
Moe said during question period in the legislature Monday that his government would be looking at priority groups in the coming days.
Saskatchewan reported 249 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday as well, for the first time in the province, five cases of the variant first identified in Brazil.
There were 195 people in hospital due to COVID-19 and 51 in intensive care.
The government also extended all existing public-health measures to May 10.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 20, 2021.
The Canadian Press