COVID-19 vaccination is set to begin in Prince Albert and the Far North, as the province is receiving additional Pfizer and new shipments of Moderna doses.

Health Minister Paul Merriman said the Moderna doses arrived Wednesday, an anticipated 4900 immunizations.

The Far North Central and Far North West regions will receive this allotment. These regions were selected as Far North communities have the highest test positive rates in the province.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Saqib Shahab said roughly half of the Moderna doses will be held back.

“It’s going to multiple locations in the Far North. As it’s distributed out, the entire amount would be sent and enough would be sent that we estimate that is required for the first dose at this point. Once that the vaccine is taken up for the next two weeks, further amounts will be shipped to points North,” explained Shahab. “Initially this will be going to the Far North Central and Far North West parts of the province. This is where we’ve had a high number of cases and high-test positive rates.”

Community delivery in select Far North communities will begin the weeks of January 4, 11.

The priority for immunization will be for residents and staff of long-term care and personal care facilities, as well as identified priority health care staff.

“Sequencing by need. Obviously, we only have enough vaccine for persons in long term care facilities, personal care homes persons 80 and older initially. And specific health care providers who are looking after COVID patients,” Shahab said.

Public health officials will coordinate with Northern leadership to establish vaccination clinics, dates and times. This information will be communicated through radio advertising in Dene, Cree and Michif and on social media.

Prince Albert will receive 3900 Pfizer doses January 4. Priority health care workers will get these immunizations. However, any extra will go to long-term care and personal care homes.

Prince Albert will have a capacity to store the Pfizer vaccine in an ultra-low temperature freezer. 6825 doses are expected in each weeks of Jan 11, 18, 25.

As of December 29, 2,942 doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine have been provided to health care workers in Regina as part of the initial pilot and in Saskatoon as part of Phase 1.

Today, the Far North West has 124 active COVID-19 cases, Far North Central-24 and Far North East-234. The province said new cases numbers continue to decline, suggesting restrictions announced earlier this month are working.