The Northern Village of La Loche continues vaccination efforts as two variants affect the community, but Mayor Georgina Jolibois said getting COVID-19 information from the provincial government “is like pulling teeth.”

“All we are getting is that it is a variant of concern and that we should continue to follow precautions. That’s as far as it goes. I’ll be lucky if I have conversations once a week with it. It’s been rather frustrating not having that information base,” Jolibois said.

“From the government’s perspective, the information we’re given is minimal. It is like pulling teeth, trying to get the pertinent information to get it out.”

In the weekly report on May 5 to the village, the province informed them that there were less than five cases in the last seven days, less than five recoveries in the last seven days, less than five currently active cases in the last seven days, and 371 cumulative cases.

The two variants affecting La Loche are Brazilian and U.K.

Jolibois said the village feels they need to know exactly how many causes they’re dealing with.

“If we have an increase in cases we would like to know so businesses can prepare for following precautions,” she said. “So the idea is we the leadership are promoting regularly consistently to follow precautions and we are also regularly encouraging you to take your vaccine.”

In an interview on May 5, Jolibois said their clinic had 90 doses of the vaccine, with over 600 community members vaccinated in the area, including reserve and hamlet residents.

Using federal applied funding for promoting COVID-19 vaccines, La Loche has started a raffle where each person to get vaccinated has a chance to enter their name to receive prizes.

“With the funding we received the raffle prizes are pretty decent prizes, and so for this week at the end of Friday after the vaccine clinic closes, we will be doing a draw,” Jolibois said, adding that there are different categories and draws.

“Even the EMT guy won himself a nice brand new 55” TV… They only get a chance to win one prize, if they won their name will not be included anymore.”

Residents 18 and older in the Northern Saskatchewan Administration District are eligible for the vaccine. For the far north communities, the vaccine being used is Moderna.

The Moderna vaccine has a protection rate of 95 per cent against COVID-19 after two weeks have passed after receiving the second dose.