First case of vaccine-related thrombosis confirmed in Saskatchewan

The province of Saskatchewan has confirmed the first case of vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT). The patient is a female aged 60-69 who had received the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine on April 11. She has received treatment and is recovering. 

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), there were 18 confirmed reports of VITT in Canada as of May 12. Saskatchewan's confirmed case has been reported to PHAC for inclusion in the national statistics.   

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As of May 1, PHAC is reporting nearly 2,050,000 first doses of AstraZeneca and AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD have been administered in Canada. Saskatchewan has administered approximately 72,000 AstraZeneca first doses to date. Internationally, reported rates of similar adverse events relative to AstraZeneca at this time range from one per 26,500 (Norway), one in 50,000 (Netherlands) to one per 100,000 (UK) and one in 127,300 (Australia).

At this time, public health is planning to offer the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine to match the brand of the first dose received. However, national reviews of the safety and efficacy of interchanging the second dose brand are ongoing. As more evidence comes forward suggesting mixing brands is safe and based on the brand allocations received in Saskatchewan, public health recommendations on second doses may be updated. 

Adverse events to any immunization can range from minor side effects (ie., local pain, swelling at injection site) to more severe reactions. Minor side effects usually occur within a few hours of injection and resolve after short period of time. Immunizers know the signs of allergic reactions and are prepared to take immediate action. This is why all residents are asked to remain at the vaccination clinic for 10 to 15 minutes following their immunization. 

Individuals who experience a severe or unusual reaction after getting a COVID-19 vaccination can report it by calling 811. Anyone experiencing a severe reaction such as difficulty breathing should call 911. Any adverse event that may be related to a vaccination is reported in order to continuously monitor the safety of vaccines.

Vaccines Reported

An additional 7,930 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been given in Saskatchewan, bringing the total number of vaccines administered in the province to 553,389.

The 7,930 doses of COVID-19 vaccine reported today were administered to residents living in the following zones: Far North West, 206; Far North Central, 1; Far North East, 174; Northwest, 642; North Central, 273; Northeast, 268; Saskatoon, 2,616; Central West, 452; Central East, 517; Regina, 1,422; Southwest, 142; South Central, 223; and Southeast, 732. There were 262 doses administered with zone of residence pending.

Seventy-three per cent of those over the age of 40 have received their first dose. Sixty-three per cent of those 30+ have received their first dose. Fifty-four per cent of those 18+ have received their first dose.

Vaccination Booking System Open to Ages 23+

Eligibility in the provincial age-based immunization program is currently age 23 and older.It remains age 18 and older for the Northern Saskatchewan Administration District. This applies to all immunization clinics: booked appointments, drive-thru/walk-ins, pharmacies and mobile clinics. 

Prioritized front-line workers are also eligible. A list of those occupations is available at www.saskatchewan.ca/covid19-vax-eligibility. Eligible priority groups may visit a drive-thru or walk-in clinic, arrange an appointment with a participating pharmacy, or call 1-833-SaskVax (1-833-727-5829) to make an appointment through the SHA booking system. Prioritized front-line workers will be required to provide proof of employment at the time of immunization (a pay stub, letter from their employer, or a copy of a professional license).

Residents aged 23+ may book online at www.saskatchewan.ca/COVID19 or by calling 1-833-SaskVax (1-833-727-5829). They may also attend a scheduled drive-thru or book at a participating pharmacy. Additional information on how to book your appointment is available at www.saskatchewan.ca/covid19-vaccine-booking. Please do not call until you are eligible to book your vaccination appointment.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority has scheduled drive-thru and walk-in clinics throughout the province. For street addresses and hours of operation for these clinics, see www.saskatchewan.ca/drive-thru-vax.

The current list of pharmacies offering vaccinations is available at www.saskatchewan.ca/covid19-pharmacies. Find participating pharmacies near you using the map tool.

The vaccination clinic in Drayton, North Dakota has changed its hours. Eligible truck drivers and essential energy workers will be able to receive their vaccine between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

Second Dose Booking Available Starting Monday to Priority Populations

As of Monday, May 17, anyone who is 85 and older or anyone who received their first dose before February 15 will be eligible to book their second doses. Individuals diagnosed with or being treated for cancer and those who have received solid organ transplants will receive a letter of eligibility in the mail that will allow them to access a second dose.

For all other residents, your eligibility to book for second doses will be announced according to the age-based and priority sequencing of first doses. 

Note that the SHA online patient booking system will be able to make booked clinic appointments for second doses starting at 8 a.m., Tuesday, May 18. Starting Monday, May 17, second dose vaccinations will be available at participating pharmacies across the province, through the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) drive-thru and walk-in clinics as well as through clinics operated by Indigenous Services Canada and the Northern Inter-tribal Health Authority (NITHA). 

Be ready by knowing the date you received your first vaccine. If you do not know the date or have misplaced the wallet card provided at the time of your first dose, call 1-833-SaskVax (1-833-727-5829) and they can provide you with that date, or check your Immunization History on your MySaskHealthRecord account.

During your second dose appointment, the clinic or pharmacy will validate the timing and brand of your first dose to ensure you are receiving your second dose within the recommended timeframe. The type of vaccine available at each location will be advertised to ensure that you are receiving the same vaccine brand for your second dose.

At this time, public health is planning to offer your second dose of COVID-19 vaccine to match the brand of your first dose. National reviews of the safety and efficacy of interchanging the second dose brand are on-going and the provincial policy on maintaining the same brand for the second dose may be updated following this review.