The provincial government is coming under fire from the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses for a change to its phase 2 vaccination strategy. At the Thursday afternoon press briefing, Premier Scott Moe elaborated on the phase 2 rollout, stating that not all health workers may be receiving priority placement for vaccines. The province and health officials instead have insisted that age based criteria are the way to go, both for risk mitigation and efficiency.
That apparent about-face did not sit well with SUN. Union President Tracy Zambory took to social media to continue advocating greater consideration for all health care workers in the province.
“Saskatchewan is the only province in Canada that is not making its health care workers a priority in phase 2,” said Zambory. “This is unacceptable. As registered nurses, you are the backbone of the healthcare system.”
Instead of being placed on a priority list, nurses and other front-facing health care providers will be rolled into the general population and receive vaccinations according to their age. Effectually, younger workers could be among the last to be vaccinated if the model holds.
While Moe said that decisions were under review, that carried little weight with the Union. Zambory called on nurses to directly contact MLAs, the Minister of Health, CEO of the Saskatchewan Health Authority, and the Premier himself.
The decision comes against the advice of the National Advisory Committee on Immunizations. Zambory maintains that the decision acts in direct opposition to those recommendations.
“I want you to know that as a registered nurse and (SUN’s) President, I know this is devastating. I know that you have been working so hard and have been waiting to get a vaccination.”
Other provincial groups requesting prioritization who have thus far been denied are police officers and teachers.