Colin Ratushniak is happy to see a new batch of vaccines coming into his town of La Ronge the past week.

The first batch of first dose Moderna vaccines was delivered on Jan. 8, with the newly elected mayor of La Ronge getting the vaccine himself when it first arrived. Ratushniak said he was happy to see the second round of first vaccines coming to La Ronge later in January but he is expecting more challenges coming their way.

“There has to be a lot more management to make sure that the second dosages are available for those people who already did receive the first one. It’s going to become a little bit more challenging to make sure that happens.”

Ratushniak has full trust in the health care providers in La Ronge but that will be something to be made aware of as residents reach that 28-day second dose period.

The rollout has been chaotic, he said, with eligible people only given hours of notice for when they can get the vaccine.

During the Jan. 19 press conference, Saskatchewan Health Authority CEO Scott Livingstone addressed the issue of the lack of social media and cell phone usage among Saskatchewan seniors, and said they are currently using the same infrastructure as they would with getting information out about flu clinics.

With the storage needs of the vaccine being a challenge in small communities, time is of the essence when administering the vaccine and the Health Authority is still working on the best ways of getting the word out to those who are eligible to receive it.

“We are looking at multiple ways of having the ability to contact whether that’s through social media, through newspapers, through radio advertisements, direct telephone calls to patients that are, are viewed as eligible to receive a vaccine

More education is also needed with people either choosing not to be vaccinated or getting the vaccine and then believing they do not have to follow public health protocols that are still in place, Ratushniak said.

“There’s this false sense of believing that once you get the vaccination that you don’t have to follow any protocols, and you don’t have to wear a mask anymore, you can do whatever you want. That’s simply not the case until we see a 70 per cent vaccination rate.”