Opposition leader Ryan Meili and health critic Vicki Mowat said the provincial government needs to do more to convince partially vaccinated residents to get their second shot.
The NDP released their Second Dose Vaccination Strategy on Wednesday, which focuses on the roughly 70,000 Saskatchewan residents who have received just one vaccine dose. Health experts recommend two doses for full vaccine coverage.
“We know that they’re not vaccine hesitant because they’ve had that first dose,” Mowat told reporters. “We know that they’d be protected from Delta so much more if they got that second dose, and we’re calling on government today to do the right thing, to make sure that those folks get their second doses and help protect the people of Saskatchewan.”
“This is low-hanging fruit, folks,” Meili added. “This is work that can be done. Let’s get them their second dose.”
The NDP wants the province to start calling partially vaccinated residents to encourage them to get their second dose. Meili said those efforts would be similar to what the province did at the start of the vaccine rollout, when they contacted seniors and healthcare workers with information on vaccine clinic locations and hours of operation.
Meili said that would help the province reach the 75 per cent vaccination threshold, and get the pandemic under control.
“They should be getting a phone call today saying, ‘you’ve had your first dose. You’re ready for your second. Here’s where you can go for an appointment, and do you have any hesitancy? Do you have any questions,’” Meili said.
“Let’s start with the easiest lift,” he added.
The NDP leader thanked partially vaccinated residents for getting their first dose, but said they need to take another step and get their second.
“Don’t stop there,” Meili said when asked if he had a message for partially vaccinated residents. “It’s not enough to protect you and those around you. You need that second shot.”
Both Meili and Mowat cited the rising number of COVID-19 cases as proof the province needed to rethink its vaccine strategy. Health officials reported 507 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, Saskatchewan’s highest single day total since the outbreak started.
Saskatchewan’s seven-day average for new cases has risen steadily over the past week. On Wednesday, Sept. 8, the province had reported an average of 362 new cases per day over the past week. On Sept. 15, that number had jumped to 416.
This isn’t the first time the NDP has proposed a new vaccine strategy. In June, they called on the government to implement a “Last Mile Lottery” that would have given fully vaccinated residents a chance to win $25,000.