Politics - Moe’s big push for vaccination to open up Sask.

Will that be one dose or two?

Well, if you want to freely move about, sit in a full Mosaic Stadium to watch a ‘Rider game and get rid of those masks once and for all, a lot more of us need one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

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You need it, you and friends need it and the crazy old guy that lives at the edge of town and talks to himself needs it.

Right now, convincing everyone in Saskatchewan they need that first dose remains Premier Scott Moe’s biggest challenge … although it my soon be exceeded by the challenge not too far down the road of getting us that second dose.

Both these challenges stand in the way of the Premier’s bold new goals he set out last week.

At his weekly press conference, Moe updated his re-opening plan with some slightly more ambitious vaccination goals and some very ambitious re-opening plans so that we can “return to normal”.

The slightly tougher goals are an addition to his three-stage plan announced early last month and call on Saskatchewan to have 70 per cent of everyone in this province 12 years and older get at least one dose of vaccine.

If that goal is met, come July 11, Saskatchewan people can stop wearing their masks and we can all return to large gatherings like weddings or sporting events.

In order to make this happen we will have to meet that 70-per-cent threshold by June 20th, so Moe is calling on people to get out and get that first dose as quickly as possible.

“It’s really up to us, the people of Saskatchewan, and how many of us make the choice to protect ourselves, protect those around us, take the time and go out and get vaccinated,” Moe said.

It is doable.

As of the day Moe made his latest announcement, 66 per cent of all adults and 62 per cent of those 12 and older had received at least one dose of vaccine. To meet the new goal, we need 75,000 more people who haven’t been vaccinated to get that first dose.

Notwithstanding, a slowing down in certain age brackets after the initial rush to get vaccines, we are well on our way. As Moe noted, people of all ages have been coming in for their first vaccinations long after their age group became eligible to do so.

In his big push, Moe further noted that his province’s vaccination rate has moved ahead of that of the United States — at least, when it comes to getting a first dose. In the U.S., we are now seeing stadiums and arenas open up for baseball, basketball and hockey.

However, the U.S. is far ahead of us when it comes to people getting that second dose — what everyone, including Moe, insists is required to be completely safe.

“COVID is not going away,” the Premier said, noting Saskatoon remains a hotspot. “We’re going to continue to have COVID outbreaks and COVID spread far after we reopen this province.”

This leaves the Premier and the province with a bit of a delicate balancing act.

It is undoubtedly a priority for more people get that first dose. There is even legitimate reason to question whether the re-open plan’s 70-per-cent threshold shouldn’t be higher.

That the plan does not have any second-dose threshold requirement is also troubling to many who wonder whether people will see second doses as less of priority once things open up.

Already, many seniors have become frustrated by not being able to book appointments for that second dose.

Further complicating matters is people getting second doses is less of a priority than people getting their first dose.

Moe has a bold plan that depends on something he can’t fully control — us going out and getting vaccinated.

© Copyright Yorkton This Week

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