Expanded eligibility for fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine announced

Vaccine file photo.

The province announced that beginning on Monday, Saskatchewan residents most at risk for severe health outcomes due to COVID-19 will be eligible to receive their second booster dose, or fourth dose overall, four months following their third dose.

Residents who are now eligible include all Saskatchewan residents 70 years and older and all residents of First Nations communities and the Northern Service Administration District who are 50 years and older

This is in addition to all residents of long-term and personal care homes and those with designated health conditions who have been eligible for fourth doses since February.

Eligible populations can start booking fourth dose appointments with the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) through 1-833-SASKVAX (727-5829) and with participating pharmacies. The SHA’s online booking system is not available to book appointments for this group at this time.

The province said that It is anticipated that Saskatchewan will offer fourth doses to all residents 50 years and older by the first week in May. Further expansion of the booster dose program will be publicly announced.

As well, all Saskatchewan residents 12 years and older are eligible to receive their third dose. Those groups may now receive their third dose four months after their second dose. Groups eligible for fourth doses can receive it four months after their third dose.  Saskatchewan was previously using a five-month interval.

Severely immunocompromised individuals may still receive their fourth dose three months following their third dose.

Information on intervals for all residents eligible for third and fourth doses is available at saskatchewan.ca/covid-19.

While the province is targeting those most at risk for severe COVID-19 outcomes with fourth doses, it remains critical for all residents 12 years and older to complete their primary COVID-19 vaccination series including two doses plus the booster dose.

“COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths in Saskatchewan remain highest among unvaccinated populations.  Receiving the first, second and booster dose provides optimal protection against the Omicron variant, even if you have contracted and recovered from COVID-19,” the release stated.

When vaccination is layered with best practices including wearing a mask, regular rapid testing, regular handwashing, and staying home when ill, we can prevent COVID-19 transmission and reduce the pressures on our acute care system.